to sit still all night

"Aunt Karen in the Rocking Chair" by Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Norwegian Painter & Printmaker
“Aunt Karen in the Rocking Chair” by Edvard Munch

I am somewhat afraid at night, but the Ghosts have been very attentive, and I have no cause to complain. Of course one can’t expect one’s furniture to sit still all night, and if the Chairs do prance – and the Lounge polka a little, and the shovel give its arm to the tongs, one doesn’t mind such things! From fearing them at first, I’ve grown to quite admire them, and now we understand each other, it is most enlivening!
~ Emily Dickinson
(Letter to Elizabeth Chapin Holland, March 2, 1859)

16 thoughts on “to sit still all night”

  1. How does one process this? Were there ghost or just Emily bit of insanity? On a different plane, meeting our shadows and making peace with them as a way to progress through life.

    1. We all find our ways to explain to ourselves the mystery of those noises we hear in the dark of night! I find Emily’s take on the source of them enchanting and entirely possible!

      I hope you’re hanging in there with your mom – I think of her and you often. *hugs*

  2. I’ve read this quote before Barbara and it always makes me smile. I hope that you too are coming to terms with your ghosts. As always, a beautiful painting and perfectly matched to Emily’s thoughts. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Joanne. 🙂 Emily’s words make me smile, too, and I enjoy her playful side. I think it’s going to take us a little more time to come to terms with all the traumas from last year, but I think something wonderful is on the horizon.

    1. Kathy, how I love your bouncy energy! It comes sparkling over the waves of cyber-space and has brightened my day! Hope all is going well with your writing. *hugs*

    1. Me, too, Laurie – I’m so glad you enjoyed the quote from Emily’s letter! Wouldn’t it be fun to spend an afternoon with her and listen to her thoughts on the simple things in life?

  3. An insightful quote of Emily Dickinson’s. It is still possible to come out with Wise words and bright ideas from ordinary, everyday facts and objects. Truth is so simple and warm when it touches our hearts… this is more of a surprise or miracle when it comes from where we do not expect. Thank You Barbara for this inspiring quote… and this awe-inspiring painting.

    1. You’re welcome, Sadok, and thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Simplicity is much to be desired in all aspects of our lives, from the cup of warm tea with a friend, to a letter in the mail (or email!), or watching a bird build a nest or feed its chicks. The mystery and magic of little things is everywhere, and fun to anticipate.

  4. Is that the same “Munch” who did “The Scream” ? I’ve never seen any of his other work. There is a haunting quality to that woman in the chair …

    1. One and the same. He was a sickly child, and his mother died of tuberculosis when he was five. His Aunt Karen, in the painting, raised him, along with his obsessively religious father. I think he lost a sister to TB as well. Not a great childhood…

    1. Over the years I’ve come to believe that ghosts are like people, most of them are quiet and good-natured, but a few of them are restless and mischievous! *hugs*

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