In Emily’s Garden

horiz (4 of 15)horiz (6 of 15)

A Bird, came down the Walk –
He did not know I saw –
He bit an Angle Worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
And then, he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass –
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass –
After two years of living in the Pioneer Valley, I had only visited the Emily Dickinson Museum–the former home of a poet whose works have entranced me since childhood–twice. Both pilgrimages took place during grey October days, when the grounds were already showing slight traces of frost.
My visit to the museum this past weekend, however, showed me the truest glimpse into Emily’s world I may ever experience. The gardens that so influenced her writing were in full bloom, and I found myself wandering and wondering, trying to capture a sense of this shy yet intellectually feisty writer whom I identify as a real kindred spirit, even though we were born centuries apart.

horiz (10 of 15)horiz (3 of 15)

In my experience, there are two types of literature-lovers in the world: those who revel in the idea of visiting an author’s home, gazing at the desks and chairs and windows once touched by a beloved writer…and those who think such places are just as exciting as any old New England house filled with antique furniture. Trust me, I can see both sides!

A palpable thrill did indeed overtake me as soon as I stepped into Emily’s bedroom, graced with its simple bed and writing desk, but I was more interested in discovering how her Amherst differed from mine. What has stayed the same between the 19th century and the 21st?

horiz (5 of 15)

It was in the garden that I felt most at peace and connected with the past. The flowers and plants are ephemeral, but their impact on the poets, artists, and thinkers who love them transcend time. The Dickinson Museum is a literary and Romantic oasis (ideologically, anyway) in the midst of a modern college town, a space for conversation between eras. I wonder what Dickinson would think of my photographs?

horiz (1 of 15)

Have you ever had a meaningful experience at a literary site/author’s house/etc? I’d love to hear your recommendations–particularly if you’re a New Englander!

4 thoughts on “In Emily’s Garden

  1. Beautiful pictures, It looks positively magical there! Unfortunately I can’t say I have any New England sites to share, but I had a similar experience at Les Charmettes in savoie, France. It was a seasonal home to Rousseau and has an incredible garden! I highly recommend if you find yourself on that side of the sea!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s