Drumming the Tide

Place-responsive drumming performance (2014, Bay of Fundy, NS)

Drumming the Tide was a six hour intertidal drumming pilgrimage undertaken at the White Rabbit Arts Residency in Upper Economy, Nova Scotia on the Bay of Fundy

Over the course of the week-long residency, I spent time on the beach observing and absorbing the rhythms and cycles of the bay, interacting with the elements that witness and/or inform the tide including the moon, the land, the water, the people through ritual. Out of those experiences, I devised a physical journey that would allow me to more deeply understand the tide and its rhythms.

The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world with 160 billion tonnes of seawater flowing in and out of it during one tide cycle. That is more than the combined flow of the world's freshwater rivers. In August of 2014, the tides were at their peak in a 28 year cycle, and it was also around the full moon, meaning the tides were significantly high.

On the day of the journey, I walked out to the line between the land and sea at low tide. I faced toward shore, and with every beat of the tide coming in, I took a step forward and hit my drum, walking and drumming in the tide. From low to high tide, these very simple and humble gestures grounded me in the experience as I became aligned with the (im)pulse of the ocean, entering a deep state of awareness where the rhythm was slow, cyclical and powerful. 

I am working on a piece of writing to capture my experience. Here's a brief excerpt from my field notes:

Existing in other rhythms. Other worlds. What is there? When you slow down, what is there? Is it yourself? Is it yourself in another time? Another place? A whole newness of being, born out of matter that is deeper than you’ll ever know. I move forward. With stillness. Aliveness. This is a necessary journey. Existing in another world, but here in this one. The drum as the link. The anchor. The thing that allows me to stay but also float away. Each step, like another world, another landscape. The journey held all the emotions. Leaving traces in the land. Washed away. 

Photos by Eli Gordon.