The maybe drum that was between the worlds
in my last blog has become
a drum for transformation in this world.
But what a teacher!

The skin is quite badly abraded,
perhaps because the deer was pulled
from the forest behind a truck.

The hide is thicker than I like to work with,
and marked with scars.

But still, I make the drum because I
can be spiritually and artistically stubborn.
One never knows how the Mystery will appear.

And did I mention there was a long
fleshing cut that I stitched shut?
All and all, a rather desperate job,
and I do not hold out for much success.
How can something so heavy and damaged, sing?

I KNOW not to put a drum in the sun
but this one is taking so long to dry
the mold is winning.
I keep thinking to take it apart,
save the hoop and ring, and move on.

During an anxious week of watching and turning, a friend shares with me an OP ED by Joanna Macey in Emergence Magazine about “Entering the Bardo.”  The Bardo is a Tibetan Buddhist concept of a gap between the worlds where transition is possible.  Macy begins her discussion by saying, “As you enter the bardo, there facing you is the Buddha Akshobhya.  His element is Water.  He is holding a mirror, for his gift is Mirror Wisdom, reflecting everything just as it is.  And the teaching of Akshobhya’s mirror is this: Do not look away. Do not avert your gaze. Do not turn aside.  This teaching clearly calls for radical attention and total acceptance.”

So I decide to pay attention
and accept everything just as it is.
Tea, chocolate, and Opera are most helpful
in this regard.
Turns out, the patterns of mold when dry
are stunningly beautiful.

Many many years ago, when I was first learning
to build drums, I made a promise.
“I will not make a crippled drum.  Before
the hand-hold pattern is tied,
the drum must give a voice to spirit.”

As it turns out, this drum has a voice.
Perhaps the finest voice I have ever heard.
So ringing and layered and mysterious
that I think it has to be my teacher for awhile.

One of the true benefits of being a drum maker,
is that, rarely, one  learns to keep a drum.
All it takes is this:
Do not look away. Do not avert your gaze. Do not turn aside.