Fresh paint on the back wall.  The wares of the store are shuffled around, and many items sit haphazardly so as not to get specks of paint on them.  This late evening at work feels different – change is happening again.

It had been a week since I put up the new front window display.   I decided to feature two beautiful drums that were just over a month old, but had spent too long sitting in the back of the store in the instrument section.   I placed the Djembe drums from Burkina Faso on a beautifully woven wool rug from Kenya.  Simple and beautiful.  The drums were still waiting for the right person to come and bring life into their hollow shells – there were sounds ready to be released.

Many people had inquired about the drums when they were sitting at the back of the store, but they thought that they were too expensive and did not know for themselves about the quality of the drums – neither did I for I do not play or know very much about drums.

I put the drums in the window to attract the right person, someone who wouldn’t normally come into my store.  That evening it happened – it was a man with long grey hair and life in his face.  He told me that last time he went by the store was closed and he was admiring the drum from the other side of the glass.

I asked him if I could pull the drum out of the window for him.  Those who aren’t serious about it are too afraid of the commitment about asking for too much from me.  They might have to buy it.  All I wanted was for someone to play it, to find it’s potential.  It wanted to know more about this object that had been lifeless for too long.

He found the bamboo bench across from the cash desk and sat down with the drum between his knees.  Beautiful noises followed and filled the store and echoed from the short distance from wall to wall.  Two other customers were overwhelmed by the sound.  I didn’t want them to leave the store, but I knew that this drum needed to be heard.  This is why I work at my store, for these moments when someone connects with something so beautifully made by artisans across the world.  It is beautiful when someone understands the product and why it was made.

The sounds came to a dead stop.  He told me that the drum had an amazing sound with so much potential.  He also told me that he is part of a drumming circle that meets in the park once a week.  I didn’t know about the circle in Toronto, but I did hear about the one in Montreal.  He said, “Yes, that’s the mother drum circle in Mont-Royal Park, Montreal.  They have 3 or more circles there.  We just have one large circle here in Toronto.”

I wish that he had played longer.  I encouraged him to come back, even if the drum cannot be his right now. He told me all drums have a soul – they just need to be brought to life.