The last time we visited this enchanting corner of the Berkshires, the stale snow of late March covered pond and stones and grass alike. Seeing each corner of these historic gardens enlivened by blossoms, lilypads, and trees took my breath away – and made me even happier to think that this place will soon become the site for a most important romantic occasion.
Consider this stream-of-consciousness (and intentionally vague) post a small opportunity for strange escapism – I hope these photographs can take you away from whatever troubles you for a moment! The common impulse is to compare this property to a hobbit-home in the Shire: but I think the experience it creates for the weary traveler has much more in common with Rivendell, “the last homely house…”
I’m running out of opportunities to coordinate my outfits with local blossom activity! Fortunately, this dress offers a spectacular grand finale. I’m not sure if the embroidered blooms that wind their way around the neckline and sleeves of this gown represent dogwood specifically, but they match well enough, and I feel like a flower fairy whenever I wear it. The moth-pixie profile pin by Hannah Kienzle Illustration, one of my absolute favorites, further affirms my fay attitude.
I’ve searched diligently through my blog archives to determine whether or not I’ve referenced one of my most cherished poems–Yeats’ “The Song of Wandering Aengus”–in a post before. As it turns out, I quoted its opening lines two years ago while recounting a flower-gathering walk I’d taken in nearby woods. I suppose that enough time has passed to merit some reminder of its almost-mystical transformation from trout to woman:
When I had laid it on the floor,
I went to blow the fire -a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
– W.B. Yeats
Until such a time that I have access to apple-blossoms for hairstyling purposes, I guess I’ll have to rely on the sun to manufacture glimmer instead! I’m thankful, at least, that my love is not the sort who will disappear into the brightening air (except when we lose connection on a video call).
That one sublime moment when the tree adjacent to my home explodes in a cloud of blossoms always marks the end of my winter sadness–and this year’s bloom coincided with the conclusion of my first year as a graduate student! Though I’ll sorely miss discovering the most eccentric and fascinating aspects of medieval art every two days, I am glad to have some time to recover from a challenging semester. Now begins the season of writing letters, reading novels, admiring flowers, and wearing enormous hats to protect myself from the sun!
Inspired by the keenly methodical botanical activities of my favorite poet, I spent all of my finals week dreaming of acquiring a flower press and creating my own herbarium this summer. Considering that I’ve now survived that demanding cycle of paper-writing and sleep deprivation, I’m making such whimsical activities my top priority!
Other ridiculous goals I have in mind for the upcoming months of relative freedom include:
- finding out absolutely everything I can about nineteenth-century attitudes towards fairies (this is technically for school, but that’s of no consequence if it’s fun!)
- apprenticing myself in the arcane practice of NAIL ART (since I’ve stopped biting my nails for the first time in my entire life!)
- [re]learning Latin (it’s been a long time since I superficially studied it in fourth grade, and I’ve felt a strange desire to return to such ancient speech!)
- carrying out a host of crafting projects for my wedding in August–many of which you might see soon, because my final goal involves…
- actually blogging regularly! (Oh how I’ve missed writing these strange letters to the world. See you again soon!)
What could be a more appropriate distraction from my newfound fear of flying than The Faerie Handbook, a volume dedicated to winged creatures? It was with this logic that I toted this gorgeous, enormous tome in my carry-on luggage to Europe and back this past winter, hoping its lush pages might soothe my anxiety mid-flight. I waited in the terminal clutching it behind my boarding pass, too afraid to leave the book in my backpack and risk loosing access to it after the captain had turned back on the fasten seatbelts sign.
I shouldn’t bury the lede: my air travels are less relevant than my general adoration for this book by the creators of Faerie Magazine. Still, its detailed, whimsical contents did indeed prove a panacea to some of my turbulence terrors…so that’s saying something!
I might not have been the fastest at writing letters (or blogging) these past few months, but I’ve certainly enjoyed reading and enjoying all the mail that found its way to me! It might take me a few posts to explore all of these works of art in detail, but I’m up for the challenge!
Speaking of art (when am I not?), I’ll kick off this first half of my mail marathon with a few Art Nouveau/nineteenth-century inspired styles!
One’s sartorial taste can change and evolve for many reasons: lately, I am tempted to decree that all future clothing purchases must match this beautiful moth pin, which was given to me by someone very special for my birthday. I don’t really have much that complements the “kinda Art Deco insect” aesthetic at the moment, but in an ideal world I’d be able to wear it every day!
(Does that mean I’ll start wearing black for the first time in like five years? Probably not! Luckily, it seems I can get away with golds and creams for now!)
Update: I had some comments wondering about this pin’s provenance – and I too wanted to know! – so I consulted with my boyfriend and he pointed me in the right direction. Check out this store for all your celestial moth needs!
There’s absolutely nothing nineteenth-century about this dress–the vintage reproduction company from which I purchased it touted the style as 1940s-inspired, I believe, and collar dresses are sufficiently popular at the moment for my look to pass as something simply romantically contemporary.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending an unprecedented amount of time in a house inhabited by a nineteenth-century poet, but for whatever reason, I feel like this simple dress captures some of the Victorian aesthetic nonetheless. At any rate, I’m thinking it will be most suitable for leading historic house tours in the future, assuming I won’t have access to authentic Victorian period dress!