Time out of Time

Time Out of Time Drummer

Fire. Drums. Circles. Celebrations. It is easy to understand the pull of the drum beat, in concert with many others, bigger, smaller, rounder. The feel of the skin beneath the hand, fingers tapping near the rim, sliding back and coming down in the center, palm sending out a deep hallow boom, swallowed up by the counter point of the chant. Never a thought of if it is right. The rhythm carries the body through the fray.

The fire crackles, sending up sparks, dancers themselves, spirits of the South, the place of creation, the place where thought is manifest as action. Energy is raised, and bodies sway, twirl, feet finding steps from that inner place. Voices sent out hoops and hollars, and hearts are filled with joy.

When I did not yet know where I belonged, had been searching for almost ever, to be able to define myself, align myself, or resign myself to solitude, I came upon a place, and a way which struck a very curious chord. Nestled in the moutains, I made a pilgrimage there, more out of the need to begin to expand my world. I’d been locked in a prison, I suppose, of my own making. Agoraphobia is like that. Yet, I also had been seeking to know more intimately, that of which I was and am a part. I knew I had not yet met that part which connected me to the greater Universe. I only knew that I felt there was something more; things beyond my ken.

The personal moments as I grew up where I’d whirl, and twirl, and leap to music which made me feel as if I’d left my body, should have been clues. Those ah ha moments of coming to a realization about something, more clues, going by almost unnoticed. The contempletive times, spent in private retreats, searching in books which spoke of mysteries were also clues; all, in fact, pieces of the puzzle which was me. I always sought to look outside to find an answer. I made faces at the incoming messages that it all resided within, but there must be a key to unlock, or tap into that inbox.

What was different about THIS place? What made this, that life changing week, I’d never found when I pulled into myself, rather than opening up to others? The fact that everyone there had a vital respect for Nature, that it was a celebration of women, hence, of myself, for I’d never done that before. So, already, there was the beginning of what I have come to see as a paradigm shift. Respecting myself, is imperative, if I am to respect Nature in the way I feel about Her. I am part of Nature. I am part of All That Is.

There were too many things going on for me to actuallly see what was happening inside as I stepped into this gentle, loving arena. First, there was food! Food like I’d been striving to fill my own life with, but failed miserably to actually do.

More important, which I would learn by the end of the week: Sisterhood! Oh, let me tell you about the Secret Sister bag. When we gathered for the first moments of the week, we were told to make what would become, at once, a personal mail bag, and at the same time, to have a place into which our secret sister could put all the most wonderful gifts we’d make for each other. We were assigned, of course. I came here to let people lead me, and this they did, wonderfully and easily. And I felt I was being taken care of in a way I’d not experienced prior to this time.

Anyway, we got little brown bags; you know those lunch bags we carried our lunches to grade school in? Yes, those. And scattered across the many tables there were  magazines, crayons, glues, sparkles, you name it, they had it. It was recommended that we make our bag speak out for who we felt we were. Heck… I had no clue. But, what I did have were certain things which drew me in, so I cut out pictures, glued them onto the bag, put my name on it, and by the end of that evening, amongst strangers, who were all smiles, and chittering and chattering, and learning about each other, we saw our magical realm begin to take shape.

Over to the ‘great wall’ (not bo be confused with the Wailing Wall, or the one in China), where, with thumb tacks we afixed our lovely creations into any empty space which was left. It reminded me of getting out of my car in a mall parking lot, and trying to find that one thing which would lead me there when I burst through the doors, arms full of packages. Where did I park my bag?

So already, it was like, being in a playground. We’d stepped out of that mundane world and donned our individual costumes, to become the characters we always wanted to be. Or so I felt it was.

The accomodations were cabins, where I would spend this first week, tucked away in my berth-like bed. I still needed to have my hidey hole. I became quite imaginative in setting up my bunk. I was on the bottom, being short stuff, and climbing might cause untold number of problems. I hung my jackets and some shirts at the head of my bed, like curtains, and long the side, were the super duper long towels I’d use for showers, and what not, which allowed me to be closed in, like I was in a cocoon. The foot of my bed was a window, where the light shone in to wake me up at daybreak. Nobody knew who was in bunk 9-3/4… which of course wasn’t even a book then, but hey, I’m writing it now, and … so there.

The week was a whirlwind of activities, and we could sign up for whatever tickled our fancy. We did have one duty which was mandatory, and it was called K.P. But at least there were more than a 1/2 dozen others who would work beside me setting the tables, serving the food, clearning things up, and whatever. It was not everyday, as there were enough of us, and enough groups, (we got to belong to a group, within which we’d meet once a day, and sit and talk about any situations which might arise that we need advice about), that we didn’t have to do K.P. everyday. But I do have to say, K.P. brought up some very interesting moments, which I’ll talk about some other time.

We had council every morning (I think Jeff Probst got that from us – HA!), and then we’d be off  to which of the activities we’d signed on the dotted line to join – the dotted line being made with a magic maker on a white board, or was that on papers hung on the wall? Some things have gotten murky.

The first part of the week, we’d also have time to prepare for Wednesday, the day of ceremony! By the time that day came, after a very cathartic council, I’d found all manner of things do decorate myself with! I had made a pouch, and hung it around my neck, and decorated it with feathers, and beads. I took long walks through the trails, which led from the main meeting hall down to the orchard, or veered off to fields and other places I’d yet to explore.

I was already ecstatic by this day. It was this very night that we would have our big ceremony! The fields were decorated with theme specific dioramas. After dinner, near sundown, we gathered and it began. The drums, which were always calling us to meetings, and councils already, were filling the air with thunder! Voices raised in song, and candles held to make our way back up to the great hall through the now darkened woods. I was a pixie dancing through the forest, lending my own voice to the celebration. Many words were spoken, many thoughts raining down upon my open mind. And we feasted on fruit, and delectible treats, made by the spritely cooks and bakers among us. Oh, I was delerious with joy. I climbed into my bunk and dreamed dreams of magical things.

While Wednesday was Ceremony day, Thusrday was revealing to each other that we’d been their secret sister. Many gifts had been left in my bag, and I left as many for the sister whom I hoped would love what I managed to make for her. This revelation happened on Banquet night! Oh, the tables of food, in the dinning room were now arranged into a place reminiscent of palaces of kings and queens of days of yore! Lots of happy dancing when finding out who was our secret sister, and that night afterward, we had special concerts by the musicians among us. We had plays and skits each group put on.

When Friday came around, it was time to depart. But we carried the thrill of it all home with us, where those who were waiting there, saw changes with which the week had graced us.  What remained, longest in my memory of that week were the fires, drumming, and the circle of celebration of the life we all had lived.