When my drum sings
The trees and birds hear it
The ears of the four-legged
Welcome the sound into themselves
Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon
Bless the day and the night
When my drum sings
There are sounds which I hear every day I know I will never, ever hear again within the eternity that is the spirit land I will enter after I cross over to the ‘other side’. Examples? Sirens and bells, revving motors and angry voices, they will not be welcome at the place I hope to go after the hour of my death has arrived.
I offer prayers each day in thanksgiving that I possess the ability to hear. I do not take it for granted. Sound (‘madwewe’ in my language), even the word itself is beautiful to hear. All happy sounds produced by nature are things I dearly look forward to listening to as the days of our four seasons come and go.
The piercing call of the Blue Jay. I heard a Jay calling excitedly one day not far from my cabin. “What’s with him?” I asked myself. Then I heard a loud crash. A big tree, dead many years, could no longer be supported by its lifeless roots and down it went. On a windless day no less. I suspect that the Jay was resting on the branch of the tree and sensed the tree was fixin’ to hit the ground. “Get clear,” the Jay warned to all, “this old tree is going down.” With the crash of the tree, the Blue Jay’s calls warning of danger came to an end. Off he flew to rest elsewhere.
Words cannot describe the joy I feel when listening to the happy clatter chatter of the poplar leaves. They are like that fella we all know with the funny sounding giggles who always finds something to laugh about, no matter how desperate a tense situation might become. He is a good guy to have around when we’re singin’ the blues. Laughter is medicine. How about the sound of a torrential rain banging on a tin roof? Doesn’t it bring goosebumps to the surface of the hearts of young lovers when they hear it though?
I remember shortcutting through a farmer’s field as a boy of about eight years old and listening in wonderment to the swishing sound that the grasses, knee-high to me, were making at the urging of the wind. I was bewildered and totally in awe of what I heard. And you know, the same grasses, making the same sounds at night are heard differently by an eight year old boy. At night, the sound the long grasses make in the wind become scary. You hear something else in them beyond the ‘swishing’ sound. The darkness of the hour creates it in your mind only. It makes the heart pump faster and causes the imagination to run wild.
The best sound this old man, now starting into the winter of his years ever heard was the word ‘Mishomis’ when my three granddaughters grew in age to where they could say it. ‘Mishomis’ is ‘grandfather’ in the Algonquin language. A sweeter word is very difficult to find, in my not so humble opinion.
Perhaps words cannot describe the joy some sounds bring to my spirit but my soul knows what to do with them alright. It packages them in my circle where it will keep them well until I die and then I will take them with me to a grand place where they will stay with me forever.