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July 9, 2011

Runnin' & drummin'

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Heartbeat Drum Circle logoAs you read this you should hear an extremely basic drum rhythm, the first one I tried when I joined the Heartbeat Drum Circle at Edgewater Park yesterday. The drumming got a whole lot better when about 100 people with all different sizes and shapes of drums joined in.

You'll just have to take my word on that, because I decided to just be there, not document it with photos or audio. Sort of like last week when I didn't take the interesting picture.

[Photo below by Hal Pittaway added 7/16/11]

I've heard this group of drummers many times since my afternoon run frequently happens at the same time as their weekly get-together. When I saw a Facebook posting that they were encouraging newcomers to join in on Saturday, July 9th I decided to go early, drum for a while, then run as usual.

The crowd

Al & two others drumming on grassLet's see... a little bit of tie-dye action, women wearing long skirts and bikini tops, quite a few middle-aged couples with canvas folding chairs—and drums—and a good representation of both men and women in their 20-30s. The oldest was 72.

Conversations about astrology, someone doing Tai Chi, and a woman using an eagle feather (I'll bet) to fan incense from head to foot of anyone in need of it created a very mellow, hippie-ish three-ring circus.

So you wouldn't mistake it for a Tea Party rally nor a group of investment bankers, but still it was a pretty diverse bunch. People sat mostly in small clusters spread across a wide section of lawn until the "official" drum circle started and the group converged toward the center.

I hung back near a tree where I'd locked my bike, not ready to commit. I'm more of a loner than a joiner by nature. In fact, since it took about an hour for all the preliminary wandering around and socializing to reach critical mass, I ran three laps instead of trying to get to know people. I was mostly intereted in the drumming.

The drumming

Soundwave of drumbeatOnce the opening meditation ended and the "elder" (the 72-year-old guy) started drumming, I felt completely comfortable pounding on my loaner drum, a one-foot square frame covered with layers of plastic wrap. I started with the simple 1-2-3-4 rhythm (you see the soundwave this makes here), but tried different kinds of variations, taking my lead from others in the circle.

I drummed for close to an hour, and only left because we had dinner plans. It felt good. The "heartbeat" name makes perfect sense when you're in the middle of it.

Part of me wants to be ironic and skeptical about this sort of peace & love gathering—I'm still looking on as an outsider. But if I put my skepticism aside I have to admit I can probably use more incense, massage and drumming in my life. The drumming for sure. I'll be back.

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