Diagnosing a Case of the Dwindles

Morning without you is a dwindled dawn.
~Emily Dickinson in a letter to a friend April 1885

For the past year, the most common search term bringing new readers to my Barnstorming blog is “dwindled dawn.” I have written about Emily Dickinson’s “dwindles” on occasions, but had not really been diagnosed with a serious case myself until recently.

I am not the only one. It has spread across the globe and I regularly recognize the symptomatology of the dwindles in my clinical work with patients.

There really isn’t a pill or other therapy that works well for this. One of the most effective treatments I might prescribe is breaking bread with friends and family all in the same room at the same table while the sun rises around us, lingering in conversation because there could not be anything more important for us to do.

Just being together would be the ultimate cure.

Maybe experiencing friend and family deficiency helps us understand how vital they are to our well-being. You don’t know what you have ’till they’re gone, sadly some now forever.

Point well-taken; it is high time to replenish the reservoir before dwindling away to nothing.

So if you are visiting these words for the first time because you too searched for “dwindled dawn,” welcome to Barnstorming. We can dwindle together in our shared isolation.

Because mornings without you all diminishes me.
I just wanted you to know.

A Case of the Dwindles



“Morning without you is a dwindled dawn.”
Emily Dickinson

I’m finally adjusted to our children being grown and away from home: I no longer instinctively grab too many plates and utensils when setting the table.  The laundry and dishwasher loads patiently wait several days without being too full and the tidiness of their former bedrooms is no longer disturbing as I pass by.

Even so, I need to know that living and loving is actually happening under this roof and that all is well.

It has been two days since my husband went out of town for a work-related conference and I’ve been knocking around an unbearably empty and quiet house, talking to myself out loud and looking for things to do and people to take care of.

I have a serious case of the dwindles. The cure will arrive back home tonight.

I realize, like the fading of a dwindled dawn, these are cycles to which I must adapt, appreciative for the reminder of what I have living with and loving you every day and what you restore in me.

But for now, it’s clear: time without you diminishes me.