Average Jane

Meridian Hill Park Drum Circle: The (heart) Beat of DC

I turned to him and whispered, “I wish there was a camera that did more than take pictures. I wish there was something that could capture how this feels.” The experience was larger than myself. It was larger, by far, than the sum of its parts. I wish I could give the moment away to someone who needed to be lifted. I felt selfish keeping it all to myself.

He told me about this drum circle, a concept I had heard of having lived in Miami but had never myself experienced. It seemed so… haphazard. It seems like it wouldn’t be something I could connect with. I’m corporate now, a planner. But he wanted to take me and I wanted to go. I just didn’t know what to expect.

When we arrived, we saw the group sitting around in a circle of sorts. We could immediately feel the drums. The beat carried through the air. We stood and watched. I was in awe. The group of drummers were playing as though they were one. As though they were being conducted by a force greater than themselves. They felt the beat within themselves and simply spoke the rhythm.

He reminded me to look around, to see the cast of characters. Black. White. Latino. Asian. The nationalities were as diverse as the instruments they played; as varied as their beats. The conversation had through their drums was one I doubt they could have had with their words. The world gets in the way, breaking socioeconomic groups and racial groups and religious groups apart, fracturing this city into little pieces.

I could feel the beat inside of me. It was all I could do to stand still. He told me to dance. I told him “no.” The leader of the dancing group was motioning to everyone to join, calling out with “AAAAH!” and getting only head shakes in return. Those who danced performed traditional African dances and I wanted to do the same. Their movements were my movements, but I was frozen in a state of shocking self consciousness, taking this formerly outlandish, shameless character by surprise.

“I am amongst the most accepting people who would never judge me, and yet I am too self conscious to dance. Doesn’t that go against the very nature of self consciousness? What is stopping me?” I asked him. “I don’t know,” he replied. Many times throughout the afternoon I felt a magnetic pull to the center of the circles as though the drums were calling me, ordering me to to join. But I couldn’t.

The time came to leave, but something in me changed. I looked at these people, this group of strangers, hundreds of them all moving to the same beat… some of them with their bodies, others through in their heads and their hearts… we all had something in common. There was a light in our eyes. Every last one of us. The silly grin I had on my face all day was reflected in the eyes of those more stoic; in the feet of those more brave. I felt like a real part of the city for the first time Sunday. I felt like for once every corner of this town converged without judgment, without words… but with love and life and the true heart-beat of the people.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Put down the cell phone. « Average Jane pingbacked on 9 years, 6 months ago


  1. * douche fag says:

    zomg lol rofl wtf blech

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 11 months ago
  2. * E. L. says:

    I have so many friends back in the Boston area that participate in or plan drum and dance events. That is one of the things I am really looking forward to doing a lot of when I get back. Though apparently I’ve missed quite a few chances to do that sort of thing around the DC area.


    | Reply Posted 9 years, 11 months ago
  3. I hope the whole drum circle and anyone who reads this will join in the following.

    10 Billion Beats is a Global Intention Event that will use drumming to send a wave of positive intention around the world. Worldwide starting in Central Kansas, it will follow the sunset through the time zones at 7:00 PM on Sept. 18, 2009. (Sept. 19 as it crosses the dateline) It is to continue the energy exchange giving at least as good as we have received. This project is for everyone like me who is crazy enough to change the world and everyone else for whom they want to change it. That includes you and that is always where change begins. The idea–though admittedly grandiose–is not a commercial event. Really, it’s a simple grassroots idea on a grand scale. If this resonates with you, please visit http://www.10billionbeats.com for more information and to get involved. Join in, and let’s drum up a New World!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 10 months ago
  4. * eric says:

    Hello. Thanks for visiting my page. You got awesome page design here. I am currently using free drumming lessons type of design myself.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 3 months ago

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