Mixed drumming last night.
A new person. Short hair and a wary, immobile face; dark, dark circles under the eyes. The face of a young woman who has not slept well for days, or weeks.
I thought I'd say something when the talking stick came to me, something about how I used to feel that my love was useless, that I couldn't reach other people, and how I used to perceive all this beauty which I didn't know how to share, but that I took the forty day miracle Buddhist cure and now I felt heart connections all the time. Fortunately, the talking stick has a way of sniffing out the bogus. Yes, something sort of like that did happen. Yes, more often than not now the joy of all that love welling up overwhelms the loneliness. But it's not that simple, and we all know it.
I held the stick in my hand and followed a couple breaths. Then I looked up at those bruised-looking eyes and said, "Thank you for being here." I looked only at her, and then I looked down and passed the stick on to the voluble Ted, who always has a lot to say. I could feel the surprise and the questioning. I didn't look at her again. I didn't want it to be mistaken for flirtation. I didn't look at her again until near the end of the evening, when we were trading conga-drum riffs back and forth, and we grinned at each other.
At my last glimpse of her, as I went out the door, she was talking eagerly, animatedly, to Ted. I would have thought it physically impossible, but the darkness under her eyes had completely vanished.
I love the drumming, the entrainment, attuning to each other. Sometimes I stop drumming and just rest my fingertips lightly on the drumhead; I can feel it pulse as it resonates with the other drums.