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what freedom?

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The American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1836), we’re told, wrote most of her poetry sitting at a small desk in her bedroom. From there she could see out the window towards her garden, the woods, and a lane leading to her brother’s family’s home. She rarely left their combined estate, not even for her father’s funeral, and described the path as “just wide enough for two who love.” The botanical designer of Emily Dickinson’s Garden: The Poetry of Flowers* explains that she “used to bring her niece Maddy to her room, … close the door and lock it, and say, ‘This is freedom.'”

In the spirit of simplicity: How do you experience freedom?

Here a few lines from Dickinson’s “The gentian weaves her fringes”:

In the name of the Bee,
And the Butterfly,
And of the Breeze — Amen!

* now at New York Botanical Gardensource: NPR report May 27, 2010. image:


2 responses »

  1. Consider…
    a sesshin
    the schedual
    posted on the wall outside the zendo
    to a zafu
    at home

    I keep an horarium
    posted on the wall
    of the monk’s cell
    the cell
    will teaches everything…

    Roshi St. Benedict…
    this slow learner
    obedience is freedom
    in the East and in the West

  2. I’m with Emily – who was one of my favorite poets as a child – the solitude is Freedom for me. Yet, it is an inner room that I can close, without being closed off. An inner solitude, if you know what I mean…


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