So, he dropped me off at the edge of this mountainy type geological formation that was covered in forest. I was glad to be dropped off. The 40 minute drive out to this seemingly random point had been filled with little bubblets of conversation like:

“That’s when I knew that Jeremy was a total psycopath and there was no choice but to pull the trigger. Him or me. Feel that?” He offered his finger for me to examine tactilely. I was assuming it was his trigger finger. There was a nodule. “Got caught in the trigger mechanism. Saved his life. Lucky, huh?”

Uh huh.

Then there was the moment when he busted off the cuff into an acapella rendition of the prayer of serenity set to the tune of ‘Uptown Girl’. Don’t try it yourself. The rhythm doesn’t fit and there’s really no explaining the oral acrobatics it took for him to ‘make it work’.

Worst of all, I was headed, do to novel worthy circumstances that I ain’t about to try and shove into an abbreviated post, somewhere that I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be heading, to a Rainbow gathering.

The short of it was I was stuck in Indiana with no money and needed to get to Memphis. Someone told me that this would be the best place to procure a free ride.

He offered me once more to hit the bong which I’d already thrice refused, the bong which I’d displaced by riding shotgun. I refused it for a fourth time, nodded my thanks and headed up the mountain trail. It was near dark and darkening. I was following the sound of a drum which I assumed made up part of a circle. A drum circle at a Rainbow gathering. Jesus save me.

And oddly enough, that’s just what happened. If bowled over can be considered saved.

A man, whose name I was later to learn was Jesus, a hippy from El Salvador, came running full-throttle down the dark hill and plowed into me from behind, causing me to trip and plunge my head into a little baptismal puddle. Amen.

“Oh, man…” He said, laughing. “Sorry, dude. Puta.”

I got up slowly and wiped the mud from my forehead.

He was in his mid thirties, long hair in a pony tail, beer-bodied, but not fat. He offered his hand. “Jesus.”

Which I shook. “Ryan.”

He led me down to the drum circle, in front of which I tried not to cringe visibly, and introduced me. There was Bazzle, a heavily tattooed ex-con in his Fifties who informed me that he would be on ‘flapjack duty’ come morning, Rake, a very, possibly too, young-ish girl with incredibly pink hair and Chris, who did very little in the way of distinguishing himself which sort of made him stand out. There were others, ten or fifteen, but I don’t remember them beyond as an amorphous populous meandering at the periphery, emitting the occasional howl, or tossing a loose log on the fire.

We stayed up late, deeply involved in fireside conversations about the failure of material possessions to provide meaning, the allure of the road, the entrapments of monogamy, work, technology and all sorts of other awesome hippy metaphysicals, which in truth found me fully engrossed and considering a massive investment in hemp products.

They told me I was lucky to have found them. Bazzle said that he was like a talisman who brought fortune to peoples lives.

I woke up in the morning with a spider on my face. I screamed and swatted at my own nose long after I was sure the beast had been banished. It was then that I realized how quiet it was. How alone I was. How gone all the people that had been there last night were. How gone my wallet and bag were. And I walked to the road hoping there would be something a little better this side of the rainbow.

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Ryan Day is a writer who lives in Madrid. He runs The Toast Cafe, and Roll, restaurants that double as cultural spaces. His articles on arts and culture in Madrid can be found at Vaya Madrid.

2 responses to “Why I Still Hate Drum Circles–Briefly”

  1. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Haha…. I was reading this thinking, Wait? Did he actually have a *good* experience??
    I found myself at a Rainbow Gathering in Vermont in 1995. I watched half-naked middle aged men steal cookies from starving children while angry, dirty drummers with no rhythm argued over weed.

  2. Ryan Day says:

    Never a good moment, hehe… But, it’s kind of a nice memory. Anarchy in the days of Haliburton.

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