the lupine lady

Welp, cross one off the summer wish list. We went to see the fields of lupines yesterday, and it was glorious.lupines-3

This outing was inspired by the wonderful 1982 picture book, Miss Rumphius. miss-rumphius-cover

If you don’t know Miss Rumphius, you should probably go out right now and get a copy from the library. They will definitely have it as librarians love this book. They even made an award for librarians named after it. The story and the beautiful pictures are by Barbara Cooney of Ox-Cart Man fame. miss-rumphius-1

I was so captivated by this story of a lady and her love of lupines, that after I first read it a couple of years ago, I googled lupines and that was how I found out about this June festival only a couple hours north of us in Franconia Notch, NH. It turns out that in person, the lupines look exactly like they do in the book. Tall, sturdy cone-like stalks with dozens of little bonnet-shaped flowers. lupines-2

In the story, Miss Rumphius starts out as a little girl named Alice, painting skies in her grandfather’s art studio. She tells him she wants to see the world and then settle down in a house by the sea. Her grandfather things that sounds pretty good but tells little Alice she must also do something to make the world a more beautiful place.


So she becomes a librarian! Told you librarians love this book. No, actually she hasn’t gotten to the world-beautifying part yet, though librarian is certainly a noble profession.


Then in her middle age, she decides to go off and see the world. Basically Miss Rumphius is a total badass, traveling to tropical isles and crossing deserts on camel back by herself. I love that nothing is made of the fact that she isn’t married or having kids or whatever, she’s just a cool single lady doing whatever she likes. By the way, do you love my new carpet in these photos?miss-rumphius-5

Here’s a better view of it.

kilim rugI’ve been wanting a Turkish kilim rug forever, but my husband is so conservative in his tastes that he found most of my selections way too garish and colorful. I was totally stalking this guy’s ebay store until finally this muted one came up. I feel like with the star-like pattern and the rest of our furnishings beside it, it ends up looking more Scandanavianish than Turkish, but that’s fine with me, I love Scandanavia! I’m totally a Swedish-wannabe.

Anyhow, Miss Rumphius ends up injuring her back in an ill-fated camel dismount, and she decides to go on to the living by the sea part of her life’s plan. She buys a little house, plants some flowers, and then gets laid up with her bad back all spring. I just love Miss Rumphius’ house. I totally want that vanity thing she has over there, and the quilt and rag rug look so cozy. And the view! I almost feel like I wouldn’t mind being in bed all spring if I could do it in Miss Rumphius’ bedroom…

miss-rumphius-4But then she gets totally better. I told you she was a badass. No more camel-injury invalid here. She orders a bushel (A BUSHEL! That’s 32 POUNDS!) of lupine seeds and walks around town sprinkling them all over the place. Everybody calls her crazy and she just doesn’t give a shit. Badass.miss-rumphius-3Then the following spring, she’s totally vindicated when the whole town erupts in lupine blossoms. The townspeople switch to calling her “the lupine lady” instead. RESPECT. Life’s mission: accomplished.miss-rumphius-2So I don’t know what the heck happened to make all these lupines burst forth in the area around Franconia Notch, but there’s definitely some Miss Rumphius-worthy beauty there.lupines-1Nestled in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, this beautiful spot was worth the drive. We found an area near the Sugar Hill Sampler that not only had fields and fields of lupines to admire, but also a mowed path to walk through, with little snippets of poetry posted along the trail. We had fun reading (and singing – some were song lyrics) all the poems aloud as we walked.lupine-poetry-walkI’m with you, Christina. Especially late spring. I could live in a world where May and June were each 60 days long. (To make up for this we need to eliminate February and March. Everybody with me?)

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