Caring for and Healing the Earth

Philosophy of Caretaking

Where the Sun Splashed Gold

Jaroldeen Edwards, from Things I wish I'd Known Sooner

This story was published in the June copy of Reader's Digest (Canadian edition)
(submitted by Mike Pedde)

    It was a bleak, rainy day, and I had no desire to drive up the winding mountain road to my daughter Carolyn's house. But she had insisted that I come see something at the top of the mountain. So there I was, reluctantly making the two-hour journey through fog that hung like veils. By the time I saw how thick it was at the summit, I'd gone too far to turn back. "Nothing could be worth this," I thought as I inched along the perilous highway. "I'll stay for lunch, but I'm heading back down as soon as the fog lifts," I announced when I arrived. "But I need you to drive me to the garage to pick up my car," Carolyn said. "Could we at least do that? "How far is it?" I asked. "About three minutes," She said. "I'll drive - I'm used to it."
    We got into my car and after ten minutes on the mountain road, I look at her anxiously. "I thought you said three minutes." She grinned. "We're taking a detour." Turning down a narrow track, we parked the car and got out. We walked along a path thick with old pine needles. Huge black-green evergreens towered over us, and grey watery sunshine was trying to peek through. Gradually the peace and silence of the place began to fill my mind. Then we turned a corner - and I stopped and gasped in amazement.
    From the top of the mountain, sloping for several acres across folds and valleys, were rivers of daffodils in radiant bloom. A profusion of colour - from the palest ivory to the deepest lemon to the most vivid salmon - blazed a carpet before us. It looked as though the sun had tipped over and spilled gold, splashing down the mountainside. At the centre cascaded a waterfall of purple hyacinths. Here and there were coral-coloured tulips. And as if this bonanza were not enough, western bluebirds frolicked over the heads of daffodils, their magenta breasts and sapphire wings like a flutter of jewels.
    A riot of questions filled my mind. "Who created such beauty?" "Why?" "How?" As we approached the home that stood in the centre of the property, we saw a sign: ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS I KNOW YOU ARE ASKING. The first answer was: ONE WOMAN - TWO HANDS, TWO FEET AND VERY LITTLE BRAIN. The second was: ONE AT A TIME. The third: STARTED IN 1958.
    As we drove home, I was so moved by what we had seen I could scarcely speak. "She changed the world," I finally said, "one bulb at a time. She started almost 40 years ago, probably just the beginning of an idea, but she kept at it." The wonder of it would not let me go. "Imagine," I said, "If I'd had a vision and worked at it, just a little bit every day, what might I have accomplished?" Carolyn looked at me sideways, smiling. "Start tomorrow," she said. "Better yet, start today."


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