The scholarship underpinning this show is meticulous--though it is strange to see daffodils in full bloom along with foxgloves. But what's wrong with reaching for a dream? And the dream here is to bring to life the very atmosphere Emily breathed as she wrote--even her small wooden desk, and the view out her bedroom window, is recreated. A strangled sob rose in my throat when I saw that. Not only are the colors of the flowers striking (I can't remember seeing deeper, more vivid blues and purer whites), but the perfume that hangs in the conservatory air is exquisite. It is poignant to realize how short the dazzling season truly was in New England. The facade of her handsome house, and that of her neighbor's house, to which she was connected by a woodland path, are replicated. This is garden theater at its very best.
I have long loved Dickinson's poetry, but had not read it in a long time. This show does what the best experiences always do--it slows you down, and even makes you lose track of time--hours and centuries fly by; it gives you something wonderful to think about, and, best of all, inspires you to return to some of the books you once loved, and then lost. Lifetime English majors take notice: attendance required! No excuses! You'll never see anything like this again. Manhattanites afraid to cross the river--take a train out of Grand Central and get out across the street from the garden! The Poetry of Flowers (runs through June 13th) is a perfect SLOW LOVE experience--it is the kind of thing we all tell ourselves we'll get to, and then, time flies by and we've missed it...I can't think of a better Mother's Day invitation.
So call someone--lover, friend, parent, child--prepare a picnic, roll up a soft blanket, and make sure you pack a volume of Emily's poems. (And if you haven't got one, make your first stop the sparkling gift shop.) Stroll, wonder, exclaim, eat, drink, and read poems out loud to each other. You'll thank me for being so pushy.
|I HIDE myself within my flower,|
|That wearing on your breast,|
|You, unsuspecting, wear me too—|
|And angels know the rest.|