Perhaps in the traditional sense of the term it is false to call this moment a beginning. But the world is messy and so I question its right to set these rules. Time seems to trip over itself constantly, ever since some beginning that happened too long before our beginnings for us to have a concrete idea of what it might have been. Now we single out important events and call them beginnings, as if we are somehow protected by a magical barrier from the rushing past and are faced only with the swelling future. Birth, school, marriage, a new home, a new country. They are all imbued with the magical power of the beginning.
It has bothered me that I have not been able to thread out a beginning to my Peace Corps service in Bulgaria. It could have started when I submitted my application. By then I was already committed to the idea. It could have began when I got my invitation, or when I accepted it. It could have on that Sunday morning when Attila and Holly picked me up from my home in Tucson and dropped me off at the airport. It could have began when I arrived in Philadelphia and began to meet my fellow volunteers. No? Perhaps when I boarded the plane for Europe then? When I arrived in Bulgaria? Maybe it didn’t even start until I gave my oath as a volunteer and moved to Trud. It was a stuttering of starts.
Looking back I realize that maybe it isn’t important. Nothing truly begins cleanly, and I suspect that nothing will actually end cleanly either. A beginning has only the power that we give it, through recognition and importance. So if I say that today is a good day to begin this journal that I have neglected and remained silent in for two years, then it very well is.
It is difficult to start. It feels dry, cracked. It feels brittle. I am scared to shatter the experience. But what experience is worth anything if not shattered a bit in reflection?