Over the past fifteen years of retirement, I spent much of my time trying to warn and teach my off-spring, and society in general, about threats to our increasingly complex civilization. I have written books, done blogs, spoken on radio and TV interviews, and advocated sustainable products to get my message out. I believe I accomplished some success on my goals, but I find that as I grow older, it is harder to remember just what the goals are. Besides, in time a person tires and wears down and Activist duties become too demanding.
I determined I should abandon the role of Activist and assume a new role of Muse; I thought it would be easier, and then I searched for a proper definition of the word.
Muse as a noun derives from a Greek myth about any of nine sister goddesses, each of whom was regarded as the protectress of a different art or science. The nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne are Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania. Respectively, they watch over epic poetry, history, erotic poetry, lyric poetry, music, sacred poetry, dance, comedy, and astronomy. Guess I need to revive my poetic talents.
A more modern definition designates a muse as a “guiding spirit” or “source of inspiration.” Now I am not sure about the easier part, but it sounds pretty ostentatious. I can only do my best to meet those standards.
I do have Activist experience. During the 1960s I was at the UC Lawrence Radiation Lab in Berkeley. I experienced the Free Speech Movement, but from the other side. I was part of the team searching for incendiary bombs at the Lab. I developed a low regard for Activists of that time, especially those in the political arena who thought it was fun to blow things up. Luckily, neither of us was successful.
In time my idealism caught up with me. The first challenge I remember as a real Activist (circa 1968) was as a member of Trout Unlimited, an organization begun in 1959. This group was active in trying to save the natural rivers of northern California (actually the whole country) from pollution and hydro- and irrigation-dams so the native trout and salmon could propogate. I was assigned to the Middle Fork of the Feather River. I am happy to report no one dammed my damn river, but they did load it with planter trout who bred out the natives, so it became a fun place to fish if you were a youngster or meat-eater – a first lesson in unintended consequences. I gave up fishing.
I am just getting into this muse thing, so bear with me to see how it develops. My musing for today is to remember the good times from your past and enjoy your present. We will talk about the future in the days ahead.