Freedom is
a curious thing

trailing feathers
of eagles’ wings

mightier than
any earthly king

who may forget
she stands to bring

from her holy nature
a healing wellspring

to human hearts
if only they cling

to wisdom, to peace
—of these, let us sing

in a state of unity
let Freedom ring.


I photographed the Statue of Freedom in March 2018. She stands in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation Hall. This plaster version was the model for the bronze one atop the Capitol dome. Like a mythological warrior queen, she wears a helmet, bearing stars and the head of an eagle. While the eagle’s power and fierce majesty have led governments, empires, and regimes throughout history to adopt it as a symbol, it’s those long eagle feathers that captivate me. To Native Americans, they represent sacredness and healing. Think on that symbolism awhile.

As an American on this Independence Day, freedom to heal, not harm, is my prayer.

3 thoughts on “Freedom

    • Thank you, Kim. I love this photo of the statute. So many different and even conflicting ideas about freedom were on my mind as I wrote. And struggled. A friend gave me The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide For Trying Times for my birthday this spring and I am just getting around to reading it – it’s essentially an interview with Jane Goodall. The chapter “The Amazing Human Intellect” compares human aggression to animals’ and specifically humans’ ability to choose evil even when we know it’s wrong…and yet being able to “heal all we’ve harmed.” Then those eagle feathers, representing holiness…will likely write along this theme again.


  1. I’ve been thinking a LOT about freedom this Independence Day. That parade shooting was in a neighboring town. This July 4, I felt less free than ever. May peace and wisdom find their way back into our lives, our hearts, that we may all experience true liberty.


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