The basement space that has been set up as an office is still cooler than the rest of the house. That will be a boon in a few weeks. For now, it’s still a bit too cool down there to sit and work for any length of time without a space heater.
Until the basement is warm enough, the dining room table is my workspace. From there I can see the backyard and other parts of the neighborhood. Nearly every day a rabbit comes to the yard and spends hours eating the grass. This is probably the same rabbit that’s been in and out of the yard all winter and spring, whose den is under our shed. I’ve written about her or him in a previous post.
For much of that time my output in this workspace has consisted of image descriptions, or alt text as it is known, for mathematical images such as graphs, number lines, and geometric figures. As much as I understand the involvement of the muses in the writing process—admittedly very little—I see little opportunity for the muses to help with my writing of alt text. I wonder, though, could this rabbit be a Muse? If so, what is her name?
Many prominent writers in Western literature have had their Muses. F. Scott Fitzgerald drew inspiration from Zelda Sayre. T. S. Eliot relied on Vivienne Eliot. Beatrice Portinari led Dante’s character out of Purgatory and through Paradise. Readers of this blog may be able to name other artists and their Muses, and will recognize that in most instances the Muse is a living person with whom the writer has a relationship.
The rabbit, and the mourning dove that is sitting on a nest in the tree outside our kitchen window, and the killdeer that has laid her eggs on a gravel path at City Green’s Shultheis Farm are not persons or mythological creatures, of course. They do bear witness, however, to the beauty and grandeur and resilience of creation. They serve as examples of steadfastness and perseverance. This has been a particularly valuable example as I have worked my way through an assignment with some 3,500 images to describe. Finally, they remind me, even while I am trying to describe a graph of a system of inequalities, that I also have a responsibility to care for the world around me in such a way that preserves a healthy space for them.
May I, then, consider this rabbit to be a Muse? Is she our neighborhood Thalia, the muse of comedy and pastoral literature?
Who is your Muse?
Thanks, as always, for stopping by!