My cousin recently moved to Elko, NV, and had the idea to start a drum circle. She asked me to help, so I brushed up on a few basic rhythms, packed my extensive collection of noise-makers, and drove west.
First, I detoured north, to visit family in Twin Falls, ID. This was an epic winter for the Rocky Mountain desert plateau, and Shoshone Falls is higher than it’s been in decades.
Farmers have already diverted massive amounts of water to river-wide irrigation ditches all across Magic Valley, and it’s still roaring!
Impressive as Shoshone was, I liked Cauldron Linn even better. You can walk right to the edge and dangle your feet over the river, which seems to boil as it crashes over rocks, and narrows into steep igneous canyon walls downstream. It’s deafening!
The drum circle was small, but it went about as well as it could have, I think. I left feeling festy-buzzed, and the drive home was familiar and sweet. It’s the road that took me to and from Burning Man a lifetime ago. I’m going back this summer, for the first time in 7 years! It’s the 10-year anniversary of my virgin burn, and I can’t begin to quantify how different a person I am today, largely because of that strange thing that happens every year in the desert. It’ll be interesting to go back after so long away.
Only 5 people joined us at the Peace Park in Elko, but I was thrilled. My biggest fear was that someONE would show up. (That would be worse than none!) They all arrived within 15 minutes of each other, and we banged around for an hour-and-a-half straight. We got one groove going that was pretty darn meditative. Each drum’s voice met my ear like a conversation. It was joyful and trancey, and that, my friends, is a drum circle!
Best part? I realized I’d never seen my drums in the sunlight! I started this project last fall and my drums, like me, spent winter indoors. They are so beautiful!
I’m so lucky. Blessed, I think. I got to play at something risk-free that’s given me pleasure, respite, laughter, music, and a sense of accomplishment. I wouldn’t have done it if it cost me anything; the risk of failure is more frightening when you put money on it, in the view of a Taurus and a girl with a frail ego. A loving universe put me in the path of this wonderful, wild, generous artist. Marko and I met at Burning Man in 2007. We camped together the next year, and have been inseparable ever since.
Those drums are the thing I’m most proud of. Even without the positive feedback, they give me so much. They make my heart sing. Thank you, Marko!
Black Rock City, 2008
(I can tell you one thing that’s changed in 10 years. People ask me now, “What’s your relationship with Marko?” These are the same people we’ve partied with for a decade, and now I seem age-appropriate for a man who’s older than my father?)
Oy! The 40s are for humility.
Oh, I lie. I did see my drum in the sun at last year’s March for Love in November, after the election. It was a different experience to see them in the hands of others, with a little distance and perspective and, as mentioned, drenched in all that delicious light.