For those of you not in the know, September first marks the beginning of the Orthodox church’s liturgical cycle. As I recall, that’s based on the beginning of the Roman tax season.
Every time I sit down to write I begin with some variation on “I owe an essay about Georgia, and Moldova if I can manage it.” Then I delete it, because what good is starting that way if I’m not going to then launch into a post on just that topic? But I don’t know what tack to take. I try to dodge: I’ve been looking into making a low-water garden in my new (shared) backyard. This is called xeriscaping. The challenge is to make such a place appealing to sit in, without having to wait 20 years for some trees to grow. Chances are, I’m not going to be in this same house in 20 years. The danger is that it might just end up a field of tan dirt and crispy grasses, and who wants that? So I’ve collected a bunch of plants I want on Pinterest, and signed up for a class next month.
Anyway, in respect to Sakartvelo, after letting it percolate, I’ve decided that I don’t have a narrative hinging on how I have changed, frown, experienced a paradigm shift, or whatever, but that the center of my essay should instead be about the interaction between the volunteers, who are tasked with a kind of “cultural ambassador” project, and the Georgians, who mostly want visitors to understand and appreciate their own history and culture — and how this can be difficult, and was not quite successful, because it may take more than a year for those two intentions to meet each other, depending on what kind of volunteer is there (in my own, for instance), because of the way that Georgians fail to convey information that the volunteers need in order to form a complete picture, and volunteers may not know what or how to ask in order to find out the “unknown unknowns” that are making certain things opaque to them.
I’ll see if I can work on this essay tomorrow.