Photo displayed on Flickr with the following Emily Dickinson poem:
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
Today is Emily Dickinson’s birthday. Although I love Emily’s work and am fascinated by her life and cook her recipes–see the Black Cake recipe here and more discussion of it here, at This Culinary Life, it may be a stretch to talk about Emily at a travel website. She not only did not travel, she was downright hostile to the idea.
This from The Life of Emily Dickinson by Richard B. Sewall:
In 1851, when she went to Boston with sister Vinnie, they came back (she wrote Austin[her brother]) “rich in disdain fro Bostonians and Boston, and a coffer fuller of scorn, pity, commisseration, a miser hardly had.”…In Washington in 1855, she found that “all is jostle, here–scramble and confusion.”
On another occasion she said, “I don’t care for roving” and “I do not go away, but the Grounds are ample–almost travel–.”
In a letter to a friend who had returned from a world tour, Emily says:
We are by September and yet my flowers are bold as June. Amherst has gone to Eden.
To shut our eyes is Travel.
The Seasons understand this.
How lonesome to be an Article! I mean–to have no soul.
An apple fell in the night and a Wagon stopped.
I suppose the Wagon ate the Apple and resumed it’s way.
How fine it is to talk.
What Miracles the News is!
Not Bismark but ourselves.
The news of the world is not the true miracle, she is saying. Our own lives are the true miracles worthy of news. And why go abroad when we live in Eden? The wagon (moving about) simply eats the apple and moves on without soul.
Would Emily’s mind have been changed by the video I posted above? I doubt it. But I know that my reaction was to tear up a bit as I thought about the joy and value of travel to me. And Ken’s reaction? “We haven’t been to Peru,” he said rather hopefully.
Have you taken three minutes to see the video? Let me know how you react.