The Drumming Circle by Dolores Rice
Eagle flew over the mountains and along the coastline listening for the heartbeat of each town and village. The “bump-ba-bump” steadied her own rhythm until she came to the valley of vineyards and artists. She landed atop an old oak tree and listened but all was silent.
She called upon the creatures and asked, “Where is the heartbeat of this once fruitful valley?”
Owl replied “Many of the elders in the area have died. The children refused to learn the music of their forefathers and now there is no one to teach the grandchildren. All have forgotten how to synchronize the heartbeat for this valley.”
Eagle sighed, “Bring in Nakoma, she lives near the sea, and find three children whose hearts are open. We must teach them the sacred drumming before the moon is full.”
Owl flew to the land by the sea and found Nakoma drumming along the cliffs. “Sacred elder, you must come with me to teach our children how to drum. The heartbeat of our village is silent.”
“Why me? I am old and my bones ache? I cannot fly that distance anymore.”
“Eagle said if I ask you, you would come,” replied Owl.
Without further argument, Nakoma climbed on Owl’s back and flew across the land where her three students waited to learn the songs of their ancestors.
Nakoma was renowned for her drumming skills and the children: Beaver, Raven and Rabbit, were excellent students. They learned quickly and before the full moon the ancient rhythms resounded across the valley. The heartbeat of the community beat once again.
After several weeks Nakoma became homesick and said to her little band of drummers, “I live in a beautiful cottage near the sea and I want you to come live with me.”
Beaver and Raven were glad to go but Rabbit said, “If we all go who will keep the heart beating in our valley?”
Nakoma, kissed little Rabbit and hurried off with Beaver and Raven before they could change their minds.
Soon the sound of their music resonated along the waves and harmonized with the tides. The sea was filled with life and the rain was plentiful. Many blessings came to Nakoma’s hometown but the heartbeat in the valley began to weaken.
Rabbit called out, “Please help me Great Eagle, I am not big enough to keep the rhythm for so many!”
Eagle was too far away and could not hear Rabbit’s plea so Rabbit went out to the village square with her little drum letting the “pat-a-pat” echo off the walls. Robin heard the sound then responded with a “tweet-a-tweet.” Soon, Beaver’s younger brother, who had been listening while his big brother practiced, smacked his tail on the log in the river and matched the rhythm with a “thunk-a-thunk.”
Old papa Bear stood up from his chair and slapped his big feet on the dusty ground, the windows rattled and some dishes on the table fell to the ground. His feet made a “thump-a-thump.” For many in the village it was the first time they saw anyone dancing.
Wolf was so thrilled he raised his snout and filled the air with a falsetto howl. His song woke Hedge Hog who crawled out of her hole after all the commotion. She listened carefully then made a “scritch-a-scratch” sound with her sharp nails against the red clay.
Soon the valley echoed with their music and the heart of the valley started to beat, and to this day the musicians and dancers gather together to keep the heart beat alive, “bump-ba-bump, bump-ba-bump, bump-ba-bump.”