Collective States

I don’t play the Djembe drum. My wife asked me to help her on Earth Day. It’s actually her drum—a gift from me years ago. I love getting into nature, but initially, I did not want to participate.

This Earth Day walk took place at Inwood Park in Manhattan. My wife had been bugging me to check out the park. It’s the only natural park left untouched in Manhattan. She felt it would help me relax. I tried telling her that as long as I can hear the BIG CITY noise outside of the park, I can’t relax!

See the woman to my right in the picture? She and I bonded. She’s such a good-hearted person. If I remember, I believe she told me she’s Dominican via Tieno Native American. Caribbean folk! When I told her my mother’s side of the family is from the Caribbean, she officially pronounced me Dominican Tieno Native American. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my great-grandmother on my dad’s side of the family is Seminole Native American. Uh oh! I hope she doesn’t read this. I’ll be in trouble!

We started walking the path in the park. I started beating my drum. It was cold as hell and very windy! Still, I enjoyed myself. She began beating her hand drum along with me. I hit my drum harder, following her rhythm. Before I knew it, a little groove started. It got kind of funky, too!

During the walk, we’d stop along the way so people could recite poetry. Often the group would stop just to stand in nature. My favorite part was when we stopped, and I rested by leaning on a tree. That’s healing for me.

I was pretty quiet during the event—just beating my drum while thinking, freezing, and walking. I have to say, I was happy to go home, but I did enjoy myself.

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