25 November 2013

The Drummer and the Sea






Ships slip into and out of the docks, mimicking the tide. The bump, bump, of Floatation buoys against the wooden pier keeps rhythm with the unhurried pace of life here.
Near the pier the kick of a drum is on tempo with the sounds of the sea.  It’s a lone drum, commanded expertly by a drummer who lost his sight years ago.  He’s comfortable with his blindness.  Sometimes, when people ask- usually small children full of innocent and annoying curiosity- he tells them the vibrations of his snare allow him to see.  They don’t but he likes to pretend- and it shuts up the children.  He can hear them staring after that.  But that’s less irritating than having their high-pitched voices destroy the leisurely symphony of the sea.  He will then beat out a prayer that they stop asking questions.  Thank god there are no children out today.
The buoys Bump against the wood pier-  his cue to slow the pace. The tide is ebbing.
There are only regulars at the dock who pay the Blind Drummer no mind.  This is how he likes it.   He can tell the regulars by their footsteps.  Each has a unique pace, a special plod that amplifies his composition.
A Chinese Man, new to this seaside town, sits at an easel near the Blind Drummer.  He unwraps a cloth and takes out calligraphers tools.  He begins creating art in his words. 
We are all players on stage, The Blind Drummer thinks as he allows the sounds to drive his opus- the Bumps, the footsteps and what’s that?  A Swoosh. Then a quick Swish.    The Calligrapher.  The sound’s ever so faint but yet fills the Drummer’s ears. He’s attracted instantly to the delicate sound.  Swoosh. Swish.  This beautiful tone is now the heart of his creation. His drumsticks follow in perfect rhythm as he falls into measure with this exotic sound.  He can’t place the sound.  It makes him angry that he can’t see.  More angry than he’s been for a long time.  What could it be?
The Calligrapher picks up the black Chinese letter he just drafted and allows the paper to waft out of his hands to the sea.
The Drummer stops. The Swish no longer fills the air around him. The song is over.

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