Monday, October 13, 2014

At Emily's House

We went to Boston for a week.  It was amazing!  We used up our airline miles and hotel points to take a vacation for 7 days to celebrate our 25th anniversary (which is very strange, since we are clearly way too young to have been married that long!).  We went straight from the airport to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox play the Yankees, and Derek Jeter's next-to-last game, which brought joy to my baseball-loving heart.  We walked the Freedom Trail, toured Salem and Cape Cod, eating cannolis, lobster rolls, chow-dah and pub food along the way.  We toured not one but two breweries, and the Mayflower (did you know that the Pilgrims also brewed beer?), and a few really old cemeteries where pilgrims, founding fathers and revolutionaries are buried.
My favorite day, however, was the day we spent in what I like to call "English Lit Nerd Heaven".  We drove to Amherst and toured the house of Emily Dickinson, my favorite poet.  Because Jamey is not only smart but also a really good sport, he agreed to pay actual money for a 90-minute tour of the two homes on the Dickinson property (one was where Emily's family lived and the other is where her brother lived with his family).  
My favorite Emily Dickinson poem used to be "Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and knows the tune without the words, and never stops at all". Just think about that for a few minutes - it's really good.  In recent times, however, this poem has become really trendy and is all over Pinterest and Etsy, leaving me no choice but to choose another favorite, alas.  Fortunately for me, Emily wrote over 1500 poems and I love many of them.  She has a way of describing simple, homey things in a way that makes them very deep and profound.  I've always liked her, and I learned a few things about her that made me like her and relate to her even more.
So I knew that she was pretty much a recluse - that is well-known (despite all of my traveling this year, I am pretty sure I would make a good recluse as long as I could go into my backyard, and for runs, and order takeout).  She was also a great baker who would lower gingerbread down from her bedroom in a basket to her nephew as he played 'pirate'.  She was a gardener who could look at each flower, bee, and leaf in wonder.  And, she was an avid reader with a huge library who enjoyed talking to family and friends about books.  I have always felt a kinship to people who are content to just enjoy time at home with family and books.  
And so, that tour was a highlight for me - I may have even gotten teary a time or two.  And to make the day even better, if possible, on the way back to Boston we visited Walden Pond (complete with a replica of Thoreau's little hut), and drove past the homes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne - be still my heart! It was almost too much to behold at one time. 
And here we are, at home again, where it is absolutely wonderful (even if it was 90 degrees today and we are still desperately in need of rain).
I will end with a new favorite poem by Miss Emily Dickinson:
"I never saw a Moor.
I never saw the Sea -
Yet I know how the Heather looks
And what a Billow be -

I never spoke with God
Nor visited in Heaven -
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the checks were given -"

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