<![CDATA[Claire Hope Cummings - BLOG ~ The Wisdom of Place]]>Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:03:36 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The Wisdom of Place]]>Sat, 06 Dec 2014 20:38:34 GMThttp://clairehopecummings.com/4/post/2014/12/the-wisdom-of-place.htmlPicture
I decided to change the name of my blog to more clearly represent my life’s work, which has always been about the human relationship with land.

I am expanding my writing to embrace both seeds and sacred sites - two of the ways I continue to explore the meaning of place. For the last 40 years I have been a lawyer defending sacred places for traditional native people and a farmer and seed saver- but it has always been about the land. In that time, I have had the honor of working with traditional place-based knowledge keepers and the challenges of being a witness to both the destruction of sacred places and their renewal by indigenous people.

There really is no separation between us and the land. That we think so is the delusion that causes both us, and the land, such ongoing despair.

Please join me in exploring these themes by subscribing to this blog.

The photo is of a human figure on a rock in the Plumas National Forest, Northern California. The many petroglyphs I find there are a strong testament to the persistence of the human presence on the land. It was most likely done just after the glaciers retreated in the Northern Sierra, about 10,000 years ago, which allowed the ancestors of today’s Maidu to travel through the area. 

<![CDATA[Throw Yourself Like Seed]]>Thu, 02 Oct 2014 23:21:01 GMThttp://clairehopecummings.com/4/post/2014/10/throw-yourself-like-seed.html
This is how I remember my body as a young woman, being outside, surrounded by beauty, the windblown feeling of freedom, letting seeds loose into the wind.

I stumbled on this photo and it captured my heart. It is the work of British sculpture Robin Wright, who works in stainless steel wire creating lovely female bodies with wings, holding on to dandelions. Fairies. This one is on display at Trentham Gardens, UK. It reminds me of a poem by Miguel de Unamuno:

Throw Yourself Like Seed

Shake off this sadness, and recover your spirit;
Sluggish you will never see the wheel of fate
That brushes your heel as it turns going by,
The man who wants to live is the man in whom life is abundant.

Now you are only giving food to that final pain
Which is slowly winding you in the nets of death,
But to live is to work, and the only thing which lasts
Is the work; start there, turn to the work.

Throw yourself like seed as you walk, and into your own field,
Don’t turn your face for that would be to turn it to death,
And do not let the past weigh down your motion.

Leave what’s alive in the furrow, what’s dead in yourself,
For life does not move in the same way as a group of clouds;
From your work you will be able one day to gather yourself. 

<![CDATA[An Evening with Jane Goodall]]>Sun, 13 Jul 2014 17:28:08 GMThttp://clairehopecummings.com/4/post/2014/07/an-evening-with-jane-goodall.htmlPicture
What a great honor it was to host Jane Goodall for an evening benefit for KPFA-FM in April. Both the video and audio of the event are available from KPFA.

Her new book, Seeds of Hope - Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants, is full of fascinating insights. Her life is an inspiration and her message is one of hope and service. One of the best moments of the evening was when she talked about her early days in Gombe when she was first making contact with the chimpanzees and how, when she closes her eyes now, after a long day, it is those moments of deep connection that bring her comfort and support in continuing her work.