The Song of the Drum
By Heather Powers
Have you ever felt beauty but it scared you because it was so raw and open? A comment by a kindred sister spurred me to write this story of my drum. My drum, a muse within itself, led me on a dance of spirit and it was achingly beautiful and I want to feel that again. Control has been an issue with me…her claws gripping my head, screaming like a banshee. It’s difficult for me to let go of control, making me physically uncomfortable but I guess it’s one of my lessons to learn which has been a difficult one. One day a few years ago, my drum decided to take me on a journey, one where I lost that bitch called control. Vibrant energy flowed from the spirit of the drum, memories reeled in from the bison from which the drum was made. Strength radiated from the drum and I had no idea what dance the drum would swirl me in, a whirlpool of rawness and beauty that hasn’t been replicated since.
I love drum circles, they are my salve, my healing. When I play, my mind opens and expands and I see raw beauty, pure spirit. As I play the drum, the beat resonates deep within my soul. I connect with the energy that lies within. I feel the bison call….my other drum guardians join in the chorus but that is a story for another day.
This particular drum circle was the epicenter of my awakening, I found it but it’s became elusive in the years since. I feel it calling me but I fear it because of the control I will lose. My tenuous grip on control is unraveling and it seems as if events in my life are making me aware that I need to give up that control and have faith it will work out.
I started playing in this drum circle completely in control of my faculties for a while…but the drum had different plans unbeknownst to me. I started getting caught up in the emotions of the songs that we played but I was still in control. Then an extraordinary gentleman joined in the fray and started singing. That did it, my handle on my control fell apart and the journey began. I felt my spirit soaring and it scared me, oh how it scared me. But that didn’t matter, the drum sang and that was that. I remember falling into my head and another joined in. My pulse racing, edgy with anticipation but fear of what was to come. As the drum sang, I too sang in a language I was unfamiliar with. I later found out it was Lakota. And I sang, my vocal cords straining with the tones of the song…And then that’s where my control got lost in a myriad of beats. The song from my lips gentle but heartbreaking. Tears fell down my cheeks, leaving their salty trails on my shirt. I felt utter beauty in those moments, a butterfly caught in flight, the colors sparkling in the sunlight. The song continued without stopping and then I just stood there. Fear’s fingertips touching my rational brain but also the utter certainty that I was safe that I wasn’t in harm’s way.
The beautiful moment was done, my wretched mind stepping in and bringing me back. With it came fear, the tendrils growing stronger. Strong enough to make me run out of the drum circle like a scared deer caught in headlights. I spent several minutes searching for help for someone to bring me back from the abyss. I finally found someone who knew what was happening and she sat me down. Snapped me back from the fear mindset and grounded me. She connected me back with my drum to see what messages I was meant to receive. For you see, I wasn’t getting it so they decided to take action. I sat there with tears in my eyes, the fear dwindling, and laid my forehead on the drum. The vision came then, I was in a leather dress, long brown hair, braided with feathers and in front of me was a papoose with a baby inside. The baby was crying and I felt fear in my heart that my baby was going to die and the only thing that would calm her was a lullaby. So I sang in this vision and it was the song that I sang in the drum circle. And the message I got was life is precious and it’s fleeting, and I should treasure it. Nothing else is important. Material possessions are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. The stars in the sky prove that, we are speck in the universe and everything will be okay and everything will work out. You just have to let go of the control and have faith.