I went for a walk on the river bank, early this morning. I try to do it two or three times a week, and it is hard to get up and go – because apparently I can’t wrap my head around the simple notion of “early to bed, early to rise” – but once I’m by the river, it’s more than worth the ungodly levée. I love the slant of the early sun on the dew-damp fields, and the birds in the trees, and the occasional hare or pheasant, and oh, the glory of wildflowers, in every possible hue of yellow, indigo, white, mauve, purple, pink, and blue! This morning I even spotted a few late-blooming poppies. And of course there were bees and bumble-bees humming among the riot of colours and shapes…
And I was reminded of this tiny, perfect Emily thing:
A sepal, petal, and a thorn
Upon a common summer’s morn,
A flask of dew, a bee or two,
A caper in the trees, —
And I’m a rose!
Emily was an avid gardener – and had a love for wildflowers – and it all reflects very much in her poetry. Last Christmas my friend Milla gave me a wonderful book by Marta McDowell called Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life – a richly illustrated mix of garden-themed biography, flower-centred poetry, and gardening advice. That’s where I discovered that Emily kept for years a lovely herbarium, by pasting pressed flowers and plants in a large green notebook. It is a careful, delicate, exquisite thing – and it is easy to imagine her working on it, spreading leaves and petal with infinite care, adding beautifully written little tags… It can be admired, digitized, at Harvard’s Library.