Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

The Muse

Here’s a desert mountain range which has caught my interest. I can’t find a name for the place on any maps. Access to this spot is via a long drive over dirt roads. It’s probably an hour or two on foot across open desert to reach the mountains. Those dark canyons must be amazing. I wonder if I can find a route to the summit of that peak? Camping alone out there would be almost as remote as Mars. Not quite as much solitude as I prefer but enough to coax the Muse to come sit by the fire come nightfall. I wonder what thoughts I could take back from a night alone in such a place…


The muse only passes
She never stops


Though the Muse may return
She rarely offers a second chance


The Muse resides in a far away place
readily accessible
infinitely distant

As a boy I apprehended the Muse as always some distance out, a tone and quality of inspiration not readily discerned and granted on occasion only to those deemed worthy by some unseen and unknown authority. The prospect of hearing, and better yet interpreting, that suggesting voice was a hope akin to vain want, something I never took seriously and always quickly put away.

When I was older I sometimes met a silent sound akin to song, a form of music at once present and very distance, something to be strained for, and attended like a last moment, for it never came back the same, always granting but a single opportunity of cognizance. When I wrote down these words and read them back I could see a difference. That far away echo had been captured in some way, and though I alone might be interested enough to hear it’s tone, it was there, like the far away ringing of a bell. But unlike a bell the resonance refused to fade, even though the sound was empty but for potency and promise.

In middle age I forgot the Muse. Distracted by duty and a parade of responsibility, equally worthy and compelling in their own right, and for very good reason. Every man and woman requires such a season, to give of themselves for the benefit of those to come, and to make amends whatever corrosion of human infrastructure and community our passing brings, and offer remedy in excess to our taking. Without these years the voice of the Muse would have long passed from the ear of our species, though I suspect the whisper would have continued heedless of our absence, a quality of the universe, alike with atoms as with suns, and light and time indifferent.

The autumn of life has brought the Muse back to my attention. A long stretch of solitude awakened me to the sound once more, which speaks as loud and clear as ever in my youth, though now the words come faster and more immediate than my young man’s mind could muster. A strange vitality of age in a body already beginning to fade. Still, the message is ever only once. A single chance and opportunity, lost if not captured, and failing like melting snow if held in mind very long.

Some part of me is suspect, the voice will harken clearer still with advancing years, though perhaps my efforts of transcription will lose purchase on the medium of communication. And when this happens the words will devolve to nonsense. And I’ll wander off with my companion. ‘Till my ears are deafened forever, to the voice that never stops.


.

The thing which followed me out of the wild this week, which I’ve been calling my muse, isn’t a ghost, or a spirit, or a force or anything beyond the scope of my mind. It’s simply a lingering impression, the sting following a hard slap in the face, the cold, deep, indifferent reality of nature. A lasting effect of meeting the dead gaze of a universe which doesn’t care, doesn’t feel, and doesn’t know. I hope this impression lasts…


.

My muse is blind, deaf, mute and dead. She is the inorganic fact of reality. The inanimate ambition of entropy. The chill, dark waste between the stars. The uncaring substrate of physics and chemistry; bound, secured and destined towards some emotionless mathematical end.

..

The thing which followed me out of the wild this week, which I’ve been calling my muse, isn’t a ghost, or a spirit, or a force or anything beyond the scope of my mind. It’s simply a lingering impression, the sting following a hard slap in the face, the cold, deep, indifferent reality of nature. A lasting effect of meeting the dead gaze of a universe which doesn’t care, doesn’t feel, and doesn’t know. I hope this impression lasts….

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