The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist is a myth that retells the lore of the lemon and Cleo (the Classic Eternal Optimist) who is bound to the lost golden citrus. Cleo has the epic task of searching for the lost lemons. Over the centuries the lemon has grown into the scapegoat for all things "sour" but as the lore reveals, the lemon is a golden treasure full of hope and promise. It is a secret misplaced, a forgotten hope, that always has been and always will be, eternally waiting to be found.
The Myth of Cleo
Hercules’ Eleventh task prescribed by King Eurystheus was to steal the Golden Fruit from the Tree in Hesperides Garden. After stealing the Treasure Fruit from the tree, Hercules tossed one into the sea as reparation for killing Poseidon’s son, (Busiris), and the others he presented to Eurystheus as proof of completing his charged task. The fruit having been born in a garden of the gods was not fit to stay in the hands of mortals and were given to Athena. She returned the Golden Treasure to the garden at the Northern Edge of the World and employed the assistance of the muse Cleo to re-fruit the barren tree.
Cleo witnessed Hercules toss the Golden Fruit into the Sea where it sank immediately and became “Lost”.
Poseidon, grateful for the token of reparation from Hercules, cherished the lemon and planted it seeds in his underwater garden. Every time one of these fruits is picked, the salt from Poseidon’s sorrowful tears causes the Golden Treasure to float up to the surface of the sea. Cleo waits for these Lemons and diligently harvests them.
Cleo built a wooden Optimist Dinghy to sail on an Epic quest in search of Lost Lemons on sea and land. The lemons that wait below the surface of frozen lakes. The lemons that flow down stream out to sea. The lemons that bob on the white foamy tips of waves in port. The lemons that are stuck in the muddy river banks. The lemons that are shoved in cupboard drawers and closet shoeboxes. The lemons that are mistaken and forgotten. The lemons that are waiting to be collected, to be gathered, to be found, to be squeezed.
Part of the Eternal Optimist's charmed belongings, this Federalist Secretary cabinet sings the song of a wooden ship, fog horn and seagulls. The painting, Calcutta in the Time of Sail, also comes by way of Cleo.