Coordinates: Unlocatable

desert1
Somewhere in New Mexico

A Muslim prayer expresses this extraordinary request: “Lord, increase my bewilderment.”

In poet Fanny Howe‘s essay, “Bewilderment”, from her essay collection, The Wedding Dress, she describes bewilderment as more than an attitude. It is an actual approach she says, a way to “settle with the unresolvable.”

And this:

A signal does not necessarily mean that you want to be located or described. It can mean that you want to be known as Unlocatable and Hidden…

Weakness, fluidity, concealment, and solitude assume their place in a kind of dream world, where the sleeping witness finally feels safe to lie down in mystery.

Those are wise words, especially as I head to the Southwest desert for a few weeks. A bit of a walkabout, time alone in the open expanses. And Fanny has advice about that as well:

The wilderness as metaphor is in this case evocative enough because causing a complete failure in the magnet, the compass, the scale, the stars, and the movement of the rivers is more catastrophic than getting lost in the woods. Bewilderment is an enchantment that follows a complete collapse of reference and reconcilability.

I’ll be back, hopefully with stories to tell.

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6 comments

  1. Stephanie Hobart’s avatar

    What beautiful passages….. have an amazing time, Deb. Love, S

  2. Thalassa Scholl’s avatar

    A complete collapse of reference– yes, that’s it. We try to break the the Unknowable into small, recognizable parts, but we always fail. Better to ‘lie down in mystery’.

  3. miriam louisa’s avatar

    “Bewilderment is an enchantment…” oh yes! How beautiful. May your be-wilder-ment be a blessed vision quest D. x

  4. Jim Hair’s avatar

    “All who wander are not lost”

  5. Rico Botta’s avatar

    Bewilderment – at last I don’t try to be happy

  6. Ann E. Michael’s avatar

    New Mexico is one of my magical places–I don’t get there very often but I carry it in my heart. The mesa regions is hugeness & solitude & sky…and bewildering indeed. Have a wonderful trip.

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