Unfortunately this would be the last birthday celebration of this type at the house, since the anonymous benefactor has decided to reveal himself and stop handing out roses. Here's an article from December 19, 2010 from The Boston Globe:
We had a beautiful day to be in Amherst, as you can see from this photo taken of the silhouettes of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. Emily never spent much time away from Amherst, and Frost taught at Amherst College for 16 years off and on between 1916 and 1938.For the love of DickinsonA young man’s love of Emily Dickinson’s poetry blossomed into a tradition almost as mysterious as the woman herself. Now the anonymous donor of roses to celebrate the poet’s birthday has unmasked himself.
For the past 13 years, James Fraser, a retired physicist living in Acton, has bought roses to commemorate the poet’s birth on Dec. 10, 1830. During the open house at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst held on the Saturday closest to her birthday, roses have been handed out — one for every year since her birth. On Dec. 11 the first 180 visitors received a rose.
In a recent phone interview, Fraser said that he wasn’t a particularly serious student as a teenager, but he was drawn to Dickinson’s work. “There was something about her poems that was a little different,” he said. Then he turned to physics, earning a PhD.
Decades later he acquired Cynthia Griffin Wolff’s biography of Dickinson, but it sat on his shelf for years before he opened it. “By reading the book, I got a much better understanding of how she [Dickinson] put words and ideas together. My interest just sort of snowballed from there,” he said. He visited the Dickinson house, joined the Emily Dickinson International Society, and initiated the annual gift. This month’s open house and gift of roses was the last of its kind. Times change and so should birthday celebrations, Fraser said. Next year’s observance is a mystery for now.
There's a lovely inscription next to the silhouette of Emily, a little hard to read here but basically telling her story-my favorite line from this inscription is this one: "Sitting here in Amherst, close to her home, she carries on a quiet, private poetic dialogue with her fellow poet [Frost] and the world."
And standing next to this silhouette/statue it almost felt that way.
I'd love to come back when the gardens are in bloom. Here's a link to a blog and some photos of the gardens when they are in bloom-you'll have to scroll down to see them.