It was the last night of my solo beach vacation – a Friday – almost sunset. Feeling too alone, I walked to an outdoor beachfront café near my motel to listen to music, be with people.
But the music ended after just one song. “Time for the Drum Circle,” announced the guitarist.
I watched curiously as chairs were shuffled into a circle in the sand and people picked up instruments from the pile in the middle. Bongos, pie plates, toy drums, tambourines.
“Join in!” said a happy-faced lady holding a glass of wine. “Oh, no,” I answered, “I’m just…” But then, cautiously, I picked up a bongo from the pile, thumped it a couple times, sat down, and squeezed it between my bashful knees.
The bearded leader began his flat-palmed beat on a huge bongo. Easy at first. Just a few thumps. We followed. Then it got faster. And faster still. Up and down, back and forth went the beat– like a wild thing breaking loose.
He started a new rhythm. Then another and another, and we kept following, louder and still louder. The tempo kept going, going– back and forth, wild and furious until it reached a crescendo and the fluorescent orange sun melted into the water.