The air’s breathless, the space…motionless. Sun, pavement, and distant drums. Full-voiced percussion, like a jacked up truck, radio blasting. It’s a summer parade and the pressing crowd around me surrounds me. Would it look silly if I turn and run?
The drums. Yes…the drums. That joke about clowns? Okay, we get it. But who’s freaked out by drums?
They advance now…the drums…and the resonance closes in. Uneasiness ricochets about the hollow of my chest. Anomalous somatic energy, and a spastic, weirdly thready, response. Distressing spectrotemporal interdiction, riveting normal precious regulated cardiac rhythms.
Dissonance. Internal physical dissonance.
The sun’s beating down, and the drums…they’ve only arrived. It’s not déjà vu. But it’s happened before.
No one else feels that? Apparently not.
A discernable commanding hum echoes discomfort within me. A tug of war. A battle of nerves. A competition as old as humans…fight and flight or rest and digest. Or just some acoustic oddity, in which the encompassing rhythms of those pounding drums drown out the life-sustaining silent pulse of my seemingly absent heartbeat. I’m standing. The system must be working, right? It’s a minute, scarcely a minute. Can’t I stand and breathe, hold fast and breathe, one short minute, or can’t I hold my breath, and wait, patient, wait for them to pass?
The sun’s beating down, the clamor of flashy color surrounds me, and columns of noise and noise and noise approach, now, right in front of me.
The distressing crescendo. The tipping point. And then.
Then, the dazzling procession moves along, and a restorative transition falls into place, as it should, in a quiet, effortless, intuitive pattern.
Like the waning end of a thundering storm, the metrics of summer, a day in the sun, and the vanishing hum of distant drums.
Da da dum da dum da dum. Da da dum.
This is an odd piece I drafted a few years ago. I pull it out from time to time and play at it. It sounds fictional, but it describes a physical reaction I’ve experienced, yes, to drums.