Emily Dickinson on Solitude

Ours is a solitary house by day. My daughter and I are both readers and writers, and she more than I is a thinker. The cat is a quiet one, too. She hardly ever makes a sound.

When Daddy comes home from work, things get lively, but often the morning and afternoon are quiet except for me clicking on the keyboard or running the water in the kitchen sink. Maybe that’s why this quote from Emily Dickinson touched my heart so deeply.

“You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog large as myself, that my father bought me. They are better than beings because they know, but do not tell; and the noise in the pool at noon excels my piano.

There are more extroverts in the world than there are introverts; the percentage is roughly 80 to 20. Some extroverts unwittingly make introverts feel there is something wrong with them. There is not.

Emily Dickinson may be the extremest example of an introvert we know, but no one can deny her gifts and the gift it was to all of us that she lived her solitary life.

So, the next time you see someone who seems quite apart from the world as you know it, remember that she has a world, too. It is full of companionship and suits her perfectly. She is one of the 20 percent — and maybe someone on the high end of that spectrum. She is an Emily Dickinson, and the world needs her, too.



3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Shirley said,

    Just what I needed to hear…thank you.

  2. 2

    Karen said,

    Is it possible to be both an introvert and an extrovert at the same time? If so, than I think I am. I love to be with people sometimes, and then again your Emily Dickinson quote brought tears to my eyes because sometimes – right now, for example – I feel just like that.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • 3

      sgaissert said,

      Hi, Karen.

      I think it’s possible. I think everything exists on a spectrum. I know that I’m certainly not a complete introvert, but, like you, I have my times. Soon I’m going to post about a book I think fits what I am — the basic premise is that some people are highly sensitive to stimuli and can deal with it sometimes, and want to deal with it sometimes, but then need to decompress. Thanks for your comment.

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