Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rhythm Challenged?

So the funny thing is...
I used to play in the high school band!
From an early age, I "pretended" to play
tin drums, trash cans
anything I could pound on,
even my younger brother's head
(when I could get away with it)
There was a deep passion for this
instrument and the act of banging on it...
was probably deeply based in my African roots
( you know, the ones I pretend to have.)

Never had the beautiful six piece
drum set
every kid dreams of owning,
parents wouldn't have the noise.

So in 7th grade I found myself
in the percussion section
at Hermantown High!
(yes, I said, Hermantown)
Some prior instruction would have been
by me, by my fellow band mates,
by the teacher.
Turns out when they pass out
the "being able to dance gift"
the "drumming gift" is also included as a bonus
(and there are probably others
in this package deal, that I haven't yet
discovered, but I am sure I will)
I had NO rhythm...
None, zero, zilch, nata!
All eyes on me, when the cymbol finale
failed to hit the right note,
time and time again.
But I pretended and pretended
I wasn't actually, "rhythm challenged"

The instructor didn't like me
and frankly had no business teaching kids.
Mean! Mean! Mean!
So much so, everyone
was too afraid to quit.
Even had to do the marching band thing,
which is sort of like dancing
while banging something,
that was REALLY sad!
Finally, when there
was a overlap in my class
schedule, I was able to escape...
Mean Mr. Band Leader and the pretense
of being able to play!

A long time collector of African drums
(again, due to my African heritage)
it seemed, they were to be admired not
necessarily played.
Cause, it was clear I couldn't!

In my living room, under a layer
of embarrasing dust were two books
given to me, six years ago,
along with a beautiful African Djembe drum
(which I had at least, lovingly kept dust free)

Gifts from a significantly wise friend.
One book was "how to play"
the other all about the "healing power" of the drum!
I decided not to muddle thru learning the specifics
(feeling Mean Mr. Band Man's presence)
and instead, discovered
a new and rich language
one without words...
like a heart beat.
...my heart beat..
all heart beats.

Began, by thinking of an emotion
and magic happened
my fingers spoke and moved and created
not musically,
but in pure sound,
poetic, spiritual, ancestrol, primal,
beautiful sound!
The voice of African gods and
anyone else who came before me
and who had beat on a drum
and found their voice,
their heart beat,
the one that simply says, "I am!"

Don't know that I will ever
pick up the "how to play" book,
but for now drumming has become a part
of my morning ritual...
my dawn song!

(thinking my neighbors
aren't too happy about this...
but what can they expect?
They are, after all
living next to a "rhythm challenged"

Piper Rain

Learning to Dance in the Rain

In the past couple months,
been challenged to learn new things...
some would call it a "bucket list,"
for some reason, not fond of that term
(may be cause I didn't see the movie)
A part of reinventing myself
because it was a birthday
that ended in a zero?
More likely!
Determined to take on the big fears...
Swimming, dancing,
steering the canoe, hula hooping
(granted, a minor accomplishment
but still?) Swahili
(in case I make it to Kenya soon)
and most recently drumming.
(Why is this a fear?
that story soon.)
Much of which seems to be about

In studying the Tao
these fall turned mornings
on my patio...
rhythm, is the common theme
and teaching
and such a struggle for my
feet, hips, hands, my ...
Okay, my everything!
Looks like what I am
trying to learn is all about rhythm!
Metaphor for life?

"life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
it's learning how to dance in the rain"

When this one came to me
(not mine)
I pondered what others I could
come up with...like

"Life is not waiting for the life boat to come
its learning to float in the tide"

Or this one...

Life isn't about learning how to play "that beat"
but listening to your own drum!


"Life is not about digging up the roots
but believing in the tree
that's becoming"

Okay, that one was kind of lame
but I really wanted to use
this super cool picture of the
root face and...sigh!

Anyone have a better one...
What's your metaphor
for life?

Piper Rain

Photo by Ed Earley