Jumpropes and Drums

‘Tis all in the timing; the rhythm. It is recess and the school children are outside playing jump rope with a long sisal rope, a child at each of the ends. You can choose from any of the groups of children jumping rope. You take your time choosing the best one. You are in line for your turn. You lift your hands, trying to get the rhythm just right.

Choosing a college and a major. Landing your dream job. Meeting your soul mate. Being there at the right place at the right time. Waiting it out: tick tock, tick tock. Wait. Not yet. The implicit order of the universe is drenched in mystery. The magnetic force field has black holes. Listen to the music of the spheres; hear the drums. The drums will tell you when. Feel the rhythm in your marrow.

Looking backward, small wonder that my home is full of drums. Timing is essential. I have moved in too fast. I have lagged behind when I should have leapt. I have patted myself on the back, fully convinced that of my intuition of when and where and how and tripped myself up. This was not to be, not written in the stars, not God’s will. I was so sure that I had properly decoded the handwriting on the wall. The drummer played a riff with an arrhythmic beat I did not expect. A drumstick flew out of the drummer’s hand. The child holding the jump rope winked at the other child at the other end of the rope and they slowed down or sped up and I missed my cue. The rope slashed my face. I tripped and fell. I have three stitches in my chin.

I cower. I shake in my shoes. I stop risking; hide. I loathe my cowardice, so hurl myself out, hoping for better timing and better results. I compliment myself for my resilience, think of myself as a child’s toy, a plastic bop bag with sand in the bottom that rebounds easily with life’s blows.  I am Dona Quixote, battling windmills, but I am still fighting. I am still passionate.

Timing is everything.