Last night Rosh HaShanah began, the start of the Jewish year 5774. For most this meant traveling to services, eating apples and honey (for a sweet and prosperous new year), and hearing the shofar–a ram’s horn–blown. For me it meant none of the above.
I could easily steer this conversation in about five directions, depending on how I choose my next few words, and since each road isn’t incredibly long and all equally relevant, my task now is to touch each of them in turn.
It’s hard to believe five months have passed since I left N.C. State on my Alternative Service Break to Belize. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since the trip began–the application process, the monthly team meetings, and all the fundraising… In the forefront of my summer plans and now in the background of my Resident Mentor training, Belize continues to be a prominent feature as I compile both a journal and a photo companion of my trip to send to those who helped me make it there in the first place.
Those are separate reflections, intimate monologues for the select few, but I promised and have been building an experience here for many months–and for just as many months, it’s been missing an important page: the final page.
Over the coming week, I’m going to close this chapter of the Writingwolf, taking you along from the moment our plane touched down to the cataclysmic changes I’ve experienced since it flew me back.
Should the world end tomorrow, today will have been my last day to live. But what should my thoughts matter against the multitude? There were millennia before I existed, there shall be millennia after I exist, and what bit of information I contribute to the whole shall only be conserved according to the laws that govern it.
Against the multitude, I am nothing.
Yet in this instant I am something–and so I have been for eternity.
I’d finally come upon my story: I saw a name and I saw a scene. Snow. Nighttime. The auroras. And then–quite literally–the sky was falling and things were falling into place.
Today began NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. It’s an annual challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month–and so far I’ve won each of the six years I’ve participated since 2006. It’s become something I look forward to every year, the only time I truly give myself permission to do something I love just for the sake of loving it without allowing anything–or anyone–to get in my way. It’s selfish, but cathartic: In years past, I’ve discovered the story I write becomes a time capsule capturing my life at its moment of conception.
But I’m not here to preach about why I NaNo. I’m here to start an adventure–and to bring you along for the ride.
Like the elements of an unintended chemical reaction, things lately have been building toward an inevitable explosion–or worse, an irreversible meltdown. Between classes, uncertainties, and life changes, “chaos” even seems a kind descriptor of recent events.
Then, between today and yesterday, but mostly today, things were pulled back into perspective and I’ve had the power–the courage perhaps–to do what I haven’t in a long while: Write.
Did you know today was Flag Day in the United States?
I did, but I really didn’t care. So what, it’s Flag Day? Just another day with a name, it didn’t phase me or make me think of anything special. I slept in late and exercised when I woke up. I played on the Wii and my iPad. I replied to some comments, transcribed some calculus notes, and went shopping. It was just another day. Who cared it was Flag Day?
That’s what I thought, at least, until I saw the news a while ago. They spoke a little bit about the flag and showed a class of immigrants talking about becoming citizens and what the flag means to them. It gave me a new perspective on the oft-ignored holiday and left me feeling thankful for our flag.