I spend half an hour in the thrall of the Muse, but then promises made in exchange for a coin start to creep in on the edges of my consciousness — yes, I must write up the news and go through the photos and put in my time — “put in my time” like a felon paying for his crime, trying not to be surly because the real crime was wasting the time that could have lifted me from the prison long ago.
And is it really a punishment to spend a sunny autumn day seeking out beauty to share with the world? The “prison” was completely unlike the jailers’ gray locked room; I will be compensated for walking and driving through the forest in search of lovely images.
Yes, I will also be compensated for sitting in a room taking notes while long conversations take place that few will remember or value in years to come — but even that room was not a prison — in fact, what is a prison but a figment of imagination?
No prison can hold a free human. Though the body may be confined, the mind is still free, confounding the jailers.