Dance of the seven veils.


I’m currently obsessed with the idea of travel as religion. At the very least, as ritual. Even though I’ve only done it three times, departing for Belize—and all the stages of transition to Cayo, the western jungle—have acquired the weight of a holy rite in my head. They’re like veils I pass through, the most profound of which is stepping off the plane in Belize City, where the warm wet air cups my face in its hands. Everything realer than real. I forgot how bright the sun is, how bleached the dust. How when I walk on the road, my flip-flops kick up the mud, so that I always arrive at my destination with my bottom spackled.

At the same time, I feel like my perceptions of Belize are indistinguishable from colonialist fantasy. The vocabularies of  Belize being both “more real” and also “like living inside a dream.” Living in a postcolonial world is not something I can help, but I can control how responsibly I act within that reality while still honoring my vocation as an artist. That’s a question I’ll just have to continue to live.

3 Comments on “Dance of the seven veils.”

  1. eightdecades says:

    A very interesting post. Perhaps too short, as I wished to hear more.

  2. Julie E. Byrne says:

    “bottom spackled” is the greatest phrase. thank you!

  3. Robert says:

    I too love the rituals of travel, but I have never thought about them as a kind of religion. For me, rituals help me feel more connected to a place — less of a tourist, and more of one who belongs there. Though I suppose that religion often serves the same purpose: to make one feel less of a tourist on this planet, and more of a sense of belonging.

    As for your perceptions of Belize, they are indeed reality — your reality, as valid and real as anyone else’s. It will happen that your reality will turn out to be inconsistent with another persons reality. But it seems to me that your awareness and mindfulness of this dilemma will help you address the inconsistencies with sensitivity and honesty.

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