Anonymity

There was a moment the other night when I realized I had done it- I found myself in a moment where I was submerged in the deep waters of anonymity, of cultural and geographical dislocation, and swimming in the chaotic womb of colorful sensory input that was rich and pulsating, not anchored by any identification, label, or explanation. I had called upon Clamer (the local medicine man) to tend to my legs wracked with wounds from ticks and ocean salt. And there I was, sharing Spanish words with his wife’s silhouette in the candlelight- tucked into their hammock, swinging in their bedroom, of their modest palm-roofed hut. “Humo” (smoke) drifted from the dying fire and her husband’s image veiled and unveiled itself as he moved through it to dress. From the floor beside me arose the sound of freshly caught fish jerking with excess voltage in the pot; Wet bodies slapping against the side. Wood burning crackle, Selina and Clamer’s voices exchanging in “bea buo wana me” sounds in Embera. As they intimately nursed my wounds, I felt like I had come to in the middle of a dream, dropped in the middle of a storybook setting for which I had no context. I basqued in the thought that no one I knew knew exactly where I was, could imagine, or, if they had been availed of a crystal ball insight into my setting, could have identifies my geographical location or cultural context. This is just where I had wanted to be in coming on this trip- dislodged from orientation: geographically, culturally, linguistically, temporally, or otherwise.

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