Early in the month, the New England weather also changed before our eyes. On our first full chilly day, we toured the Emily Dickinson Museum. There are two homes on the property as well as a large yard and garden area. Miss Dickinson was an avid gardener so we walked around a good sized garden bed that will be planted later this spring. A few brave purple wildflowers bloomed under large trees. The home of Austin Dickinson, Emily's brother, is not available due to renovation. Portions of Emily's home, including the conservatory where she gardened and wrote, were also closed. We were able to tour the parlor, another downstairs room, a room upstairs that is temporarily set up with some items from the library, and of course the bedroom where she wrote much of her poetry.
The guide/volunteer was excellent. He downplayed Miss Dickinson's reclusiveness. Before visiting, I reread an essay on Dickinson by Adrienne Rich (Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson.) Rich discusses the poet's life from a feminist perspective. Personally I agree with Rich's view that Dickinson recognized her own talent and created a life that allowed her to write. Fortunately for all of us, Dickinson's parents supported their unconventional daughter. She had access to education and a home that included a pleasant bedroom with lots of natural light and a view of a main street in Amherst.
After dinner that evening, we drove around Amherst and happened onto the cemetery where Dickinson was buried. By then it was cold and I wished I'd worn a few warm knits. There is another small museum in the area with Dickinson artifacts. Somehow I missed that in my research before our trip. Touring that museum the next day wasn't in our plans. This grandmother wanted to arrive at our daughter's home in time to walk the kindergartner from school. We were so eager to hug those dear ones. Since our daughter lives not too far from Amherst, I hope to visit again.
On this trip I knit most of a pair of vanilla socks for my daughter. Before we left, I took a photo of five skeins of sock yarn and asked her to choose a color. She picked purple and I used some leftover Opal Smile yarn to add a little pizazz to the vanilla. Knitting a heel flap, heel turn, and gusset on a plane without error made me feel quite accomplished. Turning a heel is such good entertainment. I also made friends with a flight attendant who is a knitter. Knitting really is a universal language. Kate tried on the first sock so now I know the exact length for her sock foot. I jotted the measurement down on my sock recipe card so I am all set for the next trip. Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying the colors of spring.