The Winter Drum ✦ Mythic Tale

✦ the Winter Drum ✦

The wind was biting, our hands were numb and the sky dark. You could scarcely see the the tree limbs swaying in front of your face, let alone the other hunters. Through this frozen storm, a lone buck forged his path ahead - laying the footsteps so that we may follow. 

A glowing cave beckons me closer, the warmth and security calling my name. I heed this whispering urge to go within, and witness my feet carrying me into the threshold of this ancient dwelling. 

And to my surprise, within, I find the lone buck, already slain, carved out, and hide hanging by a roaring fire. The sweetly fragrant flames are being tended to by a woman so old and stony, that she blends into the darkened cave walls. As she offers boughs of pine branches covered in needle and resin to the fire, she welcomes me in to warm by the hearth. 

She begins telling me stories of the land, sharing wisdom in the ways of Olde, painting pictures with her words. "The buck is singing to you," she whispers, "he is yearning to make musical medicine. Will you honor him?" 

Stretching and smoking the hide, we pray to his spirit to bless us with songs of mending, remembering. He is reborn over Oaken frame, with patience and tenderness, and I begin to hear it - the melody of the guardian of the forest. Steadfast, strong, grounded, and resonant. And from my finger tips, the weaving of song and story emerge. 

I carry the Lone Buck Drum in my travels, telling whoever will listen of his gift, as well as that of the stony hag, and all of her enriching stories. With these offerings, I hope to keep their memory alive around the fire for generations to come.

Artwork by Mary Feywood

✦ An excerpt from my short story, the Winter Drum which came to me while drumming by the hearth on one of the coldest and darkest days of this year. Inspired by my own drum, and remembering where these stories began ✦

"Dreaming drum and waiting loom, all held in this protecting womb,

Rest by the blessing of the old one's hand, deep in the bones of this protecting land." - #CarolynHillyer 

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