Drumming the Trees

tree drum

There are some trees that  call to me.  This broken giant still towers over the other trees even if it’s no longer as tall.  It stands on a mound of earth elevated as if on a stage.  It demands attention.

I’ve visited it before, but this time, I cupped my hand and tapped the smooth naked wood no longer clothed in bark.  Then I used both hand, one curled in a fist, knocking on the tree.  I walked around the tree hitting it with both hands in different spots, getting different sounds.

I was drumming the tree.

As I continued walking I would spot the hollow and dead trunks and leave the path to drum them.  Some had soft spots where the wood moved making a swishing sound.  One tree was completely hollow was like a pipe to a church organ, the sound sharp and loud.

Most of the trees had more nuanced sounds, changing depending on how and where I drummed.  Eventually I picked up a stick and used that to drum with too.

Fate followed me, stopping at each tree, waiting while lost myself in the beat.  Falling into a kind of trance I was becoming one with the woods in a way I never had before.

I wondered what the animals and insects thought, when  the last time was they heard or felt the vibration from such a sound.  Maybe the Native Americans who lived here before the Europeans came used to drum the trees.  Or one of the children of the Scottish Settlers, curious and playful made their own music.

After all these years of walking in nature, and loving trees, I found a new way to be with them.  A new way to combine our voices and create something together.

Indigenous Australians sing the land, their songlines a map that guides them.  It’s how they navigate the wilderness.  So somehow  drumming the trees actually seems  very natural.   In a way, I’m  surprised it took me so long to do.

3 thoughts on “Drumming the Trees

  1. Maria you may be interested in this. When a tree refuses to bloom you take a stick and give the bark a few good hits and the following year it will bloom. Apparently the tree thinks it will die and give out a flush of blooms.

  2. This is a beautiful story, your discovering and then exploring drumming among the various trees. Giving them voice and yourself voice too. It seems one of the qualities of an artist is to express themselves in whatever medium presents itself no matter where they are. Just as another example, my daughter, an artist, would take a stick and make beautiful drawings in the packed sand when we were at the beach, and watch the waves dissolve them.

    It makes me think about the wild self expressed by your quilt. This is your wild self expressing itself in the woods.

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