Drumming Ritual

Back in the spring 1996, my aunt and I drove to Key West, Florida for some fun and adventure.

We walked through Ernest Hemingway’s house. We saw nine generations of his cats with six toe paws. We saw the room where he wrote and ultimately killed himself with a rifle. Not a pretty thought, but it’s one of those facts of life. We heard of the story of where one of his wives went to the expense of making a pool. Now getting a pool in most of the states is not a big deal, but in key west, you have to dig through coral rock, which is expensive. So when he found out about it, he threw down a penny and shouted, “Well, why don’t you take my last god damn penny!” Dramatical, I know, but most artists are. Look at Salvador Dali.

Another interesting place in Key West is located at the western end of the island, Mallory Square. It is the setting for one of Key West’s most famous festivities, Sunset Celebration. Each night hundreds of people gather to take part in this solar ritual with musicians, jugglers, and street performers serving as the background ambiance for nature’s breathtaking finale.

I saw the guy who would walk on broken glass. Then there was the parrot guy who wouldn’t let me take his picture unless I gave him money. Back then I was a college student so giving money to parrot men just wasn’t in my budget.

Now for the powerful moment, the drummers.

It started with three drummers. Beating away on buckets. Nothing fancy. Just buckets . . .

To me, drumming music has always been powerful. It’s sensual. The beat connect deep to your core of being in rhythm to your heart beat.

Non-stop through all the festivities, they drummed away. You could walk away to check out the sites and hear their drumming in the background. Slowly, the sun set in the west. The drumming continued . . .

And finally, the sun set and the drumming stopped in mid beat. The ritual was complete. The day ended and night life was about to begin.

After visiting Key West, that’s when the seed was planted in my mind to move to Florida.

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