Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Little Drummer Boy

Destined to be, the little drummer boy carried his oversized cow skin drum that still hummed of rotten flesh and heated meat chunks. Tripping over his beat up sandals, he scurried throughout the village in haste to make each religious appointment placed before him. Sacrifices were the way life among his people and no ceremony was legit without the acccompaniment of the one beat constant drum. Boom, boom, boom, boom...One swing, one dry bellow. The timing never changed. The tempo and pitch remained the same as it had for ages and ages into the past, when long ago the dust now blowing in the wind used to walk the mother earth in human form. The ancestors were pleased for the tradition to live on in such dedication and vivacity, unchanged and unspoiled, as all old folks wish to see the world before their eyes unfocus for that last time.

The young drummer boy thought long and hard about the idea of tradition, for he felt it was an excuse to be uncreative. Rules and laws and superstitions and unchallenged half truths kept the curious young at bay, teaching them to obey, respect their all too wise elders, and never question the gods. He did not question openly, but from within he felt the need to question himself. Why must I follow and do as everyone else does? Why can't I learn from my own mistakes instead of being told how to messup and do right? His elders had answers to every problem, nothing surprised them. Before you knew it, a story was streaming from their mouths of spirits and animal kings and queens followed by a moral of great or little significance, believable or not.

The boy grew on, changing physically and mentally among the constant mindset of the village brain. The drum bore on, growing lighter with time, but the boys mind grew heavy and wary, dragging thoughts and visions within his stretched shadow. Ideas pondered upon deep into the night seemed to vanish with the darkness as the sun melted away all uncertainties...except one.

Why must I always drum my cursed cow skin the same tempo and same loudness without veering away even in the slightest of intentions? His body screamed to whack the drum with eyes closed and feel the cows heart and soul whom sacrificed itself for the gods love of music. Music? The constant heart beat echo resembled a warpath as much as it did a death song. No variations, no changes, no creativity. The gods were boring. Or were the people who proposed the gods wanted tradition over change the boring ones. Maybe they were afraid of their gods as much as they worshipped them?

Questions. The boy questioned asking the elders. The boy answered his own questions with realism and solid pain. The boy changed the beat of the drum to his own liking. The boy dismissed his traditions. The boy grew into a man and sought to see past his village boundaries. The man gatherered his belongings and decided to leave his native home. No, he did not run away in doubt or fear when no was looking. Instead, he announced his departure days in advance.

The village gathered to see him leave the day of, placing holy flowers before him to aid him in his condemned journey of uncertainty. Villagers poured out of windows, alerted by the new beat of the drum, a change so subtle, but attractive. A new wind of hope blew through the streets causing adrenaline to redline, a feeling strange and new to the family of followers. Many longed to join the well known drummer for an instant, but quickly changed their minds and dismissed the urge. For at the edge of the village, a group of elders waited for the drummer to advance upon their formation.

The drummer neared followed by his beat, smiling uncontrollably in his excitement. He stopped directly in front of the elders and spoke his intentions, drum still beating, always at his side. The elders demanded he stop this new noise, unfamiliar and unholy to the gods ears. The beat wore on. The elders asked the drummer why it was that he was choosing to disband and ditch his fellow friends and family behind on such a selfish quest. The boy simply replied with "Do not question the gods." And with that said he pushed his way past the elders, cow skin pounding, and left his shadow behind in a cloud of dust along with all his friends and familiy and their traditions. Looking over his shoulder for one last time, the drummer says just loud enough for the elders to hear, "And as for the story with the moral, I will tell it in full when I return..."


Isabella said...

True grit is making a decision and standing by it,doing what must be done.

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