Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


My Muse Goes to School

Calliope is Homer’s muse and also my granddaughter – all wrapped in a single package I sometimes think. She was the wisest of the muses and the most assertive, which seems at least half right about her current reincarnation. She’s in my mind this morning, the end of the first week of a September filled with late summer days when the skies are clear and the crowds have gone home, and loons calling across the calm water bespeak the solitude that has settled on Maine's coast. It’s technically not yet fall, but the cool air has a whiff of the sadness that makes poets write of their impending death, while the more mundane relive the gloomy memories, which the intervening years can’t obliterate, of going back to school.

On Wednesday Calliope started “big girl school,” and although she is only four, it’s quite a step up from “Little Angels,” where she spent her childhood years. Unlike those of us who remember the anxiety of our first days, Callie is unfiltered enthusiasm in a tiny body. She has only one worry: “But Mom, I won’t know the names of my new friends.”


She hasn’t read the reports on bullying (because she can’t read). She’s not desperate to fit in. She doesn’t know she’s starting a long march on which she will be assessed, graded, pigeonholed, sometimes literally disenchanted. She shows hopeful signs of resistance. At four you don’t look back. You look ahead, excited, ready for what Calliope calls “an adventure.”

“A Republic, If You Can Keep It”

The Pagan Saint