Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I didn't make the connection til the following day - Sunday, May 15, 2011, was the 125th anniversary of the day Emily Dickinson died. So it seems especially fitting that I discovered, even if last minute, this wildflower walk, and that I felt compelled or impelled or propelled - somehow had the drive - to go. I have read since, in a beautiful tribute on the Secret Life of E.D. FB page that noted the bittersweet anniversary, that violets in bloom adorned E.D. in her final repose as well as her casket, and that on the day of her funeral, May 19, 1886, Thomas Wentworth Higginson (seeing her for only the third time in his life) noted in his diary that "The grass of the lawn was full of buttercups and violet & wild geranium."
And that's what's extraordinary thinking back to my wildflower walk on Sunday. Because violets were in bloom there, violet-colored ones and also white; and at one point in a clearing that contained (as I recall now) mostly lawn, and a hedgerow of pines - there in the grass were tiny yellow blooming flowers. Oh - buttercups? Yes, indeed, buttercups - the wildflower expert (a charming, lovely, softspoken woman who is exceedingly nuanced about bloom times, having as her lifelong labor of love devised over 30 years of observation a natural calendar in which she thinks of a year as being divided into not four - but indeed 19 seasons) (her website here) was surprised to see them, felt that they were a tad early.
And a bit later on that walk, we noticed a single wild geranium in bloom - pink.
And so now thinking about it - once I made the connection with the anniversary of E.D.'s death - wow, talk about perennials, and the everlasting - the very flowers that were in bloom on May 15, 1886, are in bloom at this precise time, in 2011. I felt such a sense of time collapsed, eclipsed, erased, evinced, falling away into some kind of simultaneity making that connection.
It's funny, the day before the walk, I had read on the FB page that it was the anniversary of E.D.'s death. But during the walk I didn't remember that and make the connection, partly because it was such a fresh new experience being in a new place with people I had never met before, and partly because we were chatting comparative bloom times between the east side of the county, in higher elevations, and the west where I live, near sea level, which I didn't realize, since in the romantic landscape in which I live, full of crags and dips and dells, I'm well above the flood prone creek. Lilacs, as of Sunday, had not yet begun to bloom in the Berkshire-Taghcanic foothills, but I was able to report to the little group that where I live they've been in bloom for a good ten days. Indeed this morning I clipped a few fresh blooms - I'd say they're past peak here now.
And that's it for now, my dearest love, wondering where you are, perhaps things are wrapping up for you where you've been - what's next for you, I wonder. Wherever you are, and wherever you go, I hope you are very happy and that things go smoothly, unfolding gently, not jarringly four-season style, but rather in langorous and deeply rich nineteen - at least -