Hello Clan!

I've been asked to post a write-up of the last drum circle that was held in Summerfield, Florida, and I have been told that I can use the write-up sent by one of the attendees to one of my Yahoo! groups, so here it is! Cheryl is a great writer, as you will see, and I'm very honored to have had her write so nicely about our evening.

Also, don't forget to come and join us on Saturday, May 17th, for the May Full Moon Drum Circle!

Here you go!

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You don't have to be pagan to enjoy Meren's Full Moon Drum Circle. Heck, you don't even have to own a drum -- Meren's got plenty, and happily shares.

I mapped out my course to Summerfield this past weekend and enjoyed the adventure of traveling new roads, viewing new landscapes and dodging new squirrels to arrive at Meren's place. The manufactured homes on well-tended, half-acre-ish lots form a friendly community: dogs in the yards, walkers on the streets, kids on bicycles. When I parked on green, well-shorn lawn, Meren came out to greet me and bring me inside to meet everyone.

I got my dog fix for the month, first meeting long-haired, attentive Faith and later young, stubby-tailed Hope. They obliged me by letting me pet them a lot, and Faith even tried to be a lapdog for me when I sat on the carpet. I loved it!

The note said to bring food to go with the stew. Not knowing what hungry drummers might eat, I skipped the cupcakes and potato chips in favor of a loaf of bread and a bag of bananas. Turns out we'd chat and eat first, then drum as dusk arrived. Spiced oil was out for bread-dipping, and water, sodas and wine chilled nearby.

We waited for a bit, not sure who else might arrive, and settled down to eat the hearty stew with bow-tie pasta and a gorgeous salad. (As a vegetarian, I can't tell you much about the stew, other than it had meat. The salad, however, had been prepared by someone who knew how to make a salad: greens torn into bite-sized pieces, with copped bits of carrot, broccoli, onion, red pepper and larger chunks of ripe tomato, with a dusting of what looked to be freshly ground pepper. An assortment of dressings let everyone choose what we liked.)

Conversation ranged from the recent Florida Poly Retreat to topics near and dear to the hearts of Floridians everywhere: hurricanes and insurance.

As Meren mentioned, Alicia and Jeffrey had to leave before sunset. I hadn't talked with them much at FPR, so it was nice to get to know them a bit during dinner.

Meren brought out her drums, and Cecil and I started learning basic rhythms. At sunset, we moved outside to the fire in the back yard -- a raised, metal stand with moons and stars cut out of the sides, and a grill to cover it at the end of the night for safety. The broad, brick-covered circle held low chairs and rockers. Meren brought out her camp stool to play her big REMO drum, nicely decorated with a belly dancing belt of chains and scales (the drum, not the woman).

I'd come dressed for dancing -- bike shorts under a circle skirt, sports bra under a tank top and loose overshirt -- but I had more fun learning drum rhythms from the patient and talented Meren. When she set a beat, I could mostly follow it. Cecil's talent for counterpoint became evident, even though he said he hadn't played much before.

Robert kindly refueled the fire with oak logs, and stayed to listen to our efforts and chat. The dogs seemed more interested in policing the neighborhood, chasing after every biker, walker or car that passed, then chasing after each other. High clouds gave the moon something to play with, and Cecil pointed out some constellations: Orion, a dipper, the north star. The air was dry and not too cold, the mosquitoes absent, and the fire graced us all with its smoky perfume as a light breeze danced to our drumming.

We drifted back inside about 10 p.m., and Meren played some songs by Spiral Rhythm she'd sung (beautifully! ) outside. I'd heard them at Dragon Con in Atlanta years ago, possibly under a different name. We also talked about Emerald Rose, another Celtic/pagan band, and S.J. Tucker (aka Skinny White Chick).

I got to cuddle on the couch briefly with Cecil -- yay, me! -- then wended my way homeward about 11 p.m.

So, here endeth my lengthy but enthusiastic endorsement of Meren's hospitality. If you can make it May 17, I hope to see you there!

--Cheryl

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