Our mother earth, steadfast, rhythmic, makes her way around the sun.
Roughly 23 of those orbits ago, I stepped onto a ferry bound for an island in the Japan Sea, to a celebration of the earth, of art, music, dance.
But especially, of drums.
I found Kodo. Taiko drum warriors, gods among men. I listened, danced, and was hooked. Their drums still boom, inside me, today.
An intimate event, a few hundred souls, this tiny gathering had a special guest from Ghana. Of course.
His drum could talk.
And what stories it told.
Partnering the booming odaiko on the big stage, or soloing in front of the shrine. His drum spoke beats, rhymes, life from across the globe.
Aja Addy was a master of his craft, and an amazing human being. Quick to smile, packed with goodness and light, he drew you to him. Present, awake, beautiful.
In other words, Ghanaian.
Between the godlike drummers and the legend from Accra, I was transfixed, transformed, transported. Inspired, I started a journey to becoming a better human being.
It is said that time is a flat circle.
We make our way, bumbling, awkward, in orbit around the edge of this circle.
There is quite a bit I’d say to that young human on the island, dancing, laughing, clowning.
pay attention, slow down
trust in others
put yourself out there
don’t be afraid to fail
you’ve got a lot to learn, punk
So fast forward.
I’m here, coming around to what feels like could be the same spot on that flat circle. I’m still traveling, still discovering, still hearing drums every day.
But it’s different, too. A few more orbits under my belt.
I find myself, wandering between dusty containers and navigating tiny corridors to visit a cozy market stall.
The mosquitoes are stirring, but the market is quiet. It is a day of rest for most. A couple bright faces bid us welcome.
They have drums here. Of course.
Mr. Ali’s friend directs me to his shop, his bright green tank top adorned with the best phrase.
this is my party shirt
We greet our storekeeper with a handshake and snap, and he leads us through the maze. Three small chicks peep their way at our heels. He strides ahead and folds up his prayer mat. I hope we aren’t in the way.
As I bargain with Mr. Ali, he reminds me.
we are friends now
And I believe him.
I wonder if, on my next orbit around that larger circle, I’ll still have much to say to the younger human I am today.
But, regardless of what passes between us
I know I’ll still hear the drums