After being such a good sport about hiking 100-plus miles in Glacier National Park this summer, I owed Jane a vacation that was a little less sweat inducing and a little more cerebral. Our dear friend, Mrs. Light, extended a gracious invitation to spend a few days at her cottage in Massachusetts. What could be better than autumn in New England?
The flight was uneventful, though we both lamented the state of meals while traveling. Gone are the days of leisurely stops at an inn, where one is served a roast and some wine to revive one’s spirits. Instead, eight grapes, half a walnut, and some cheese and crackers were the best we managed to acquire on the airplane.
Life became more civilized when we arrived in Amherst and made our way to the Emily Dickinson Museum. We marveled at Emily having a spacious room of her own and a writing desk that was at least four inches larger than Jane’s!
In that space Ms. Dickinson wrote nearly 1,800 poems! I am fond of this one:
I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.
He questioned softly why I failed?
“For beauty,” I replied.
“And I for truth, — the two are one;
We brethren are,” he said.
And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.
After the tour, Jane and Emily spent some time in the garden comparing notes about the difficulties of writing when your little sister was butchering Mozart on the piano in the back parlor. (I’m pretty sure I also heard them debating the merits of Gerard Butler and Jon Stewart when they thought we weren’t listening. Scandalous!)
The following day, we took a leisurely drive north through Vermont with a detour through Plainfield, New Hampshire to admire a display of Maxfield Parrish paintings and prints at the Town Hall. We were delighted to make the acquaintance of the artist’s granddaughter! Jane particularly admired the luminous quality of the print that Mrs. Light purchased.
Today we plan to cap our New England adventure with a visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum and a last look at the fall colors. Our minds and spirits have been revived with splendid scenery, art, friendship, poetry, and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.