When our ancestors went into battle, they did not know what the consequences would be. All they knew is that if they did nothing, things would not go well for their children. Do not operate out of a place of fear; operate out of a place of hope. Because with hope, everything is possible. Time is now, the movement is here." That is what that spirit said to those people. Yes, that is this moment we are in right now.
—Winona LaDuke, from the Keynote Speech at the Geography of Hope Conference
Some experiences are not easily captured in words, not even at a literary conference like the Geography of Hope: Ancestors and the Land. From Winona LaDuke's keynote words ringing through the multitude gathered in the West Marin School gym; to the diverse voices of the panelists sharing tears, experiences, and even a drop of blood; to the ancestor photos we posted on the wall to watch over us; to the sage smoke that floated through the circle in our final ceremony on the Giacomini Wetlands; the conference was extraordinary. You can watch videos from the weekend on the website of our conference partner, the Center for Humans and Nature.
For Kate and I, the weekend was a series of connections and reconnections with old and new friends. It was a community of stories that we created, together, that will continue to sustain and inspire us as we go forward. But this is just the beginning. Experiences like the Geography of Hope serve to inspire and nourish --- and then to send us back into the world to do what we can to make it a better place.
On days when we feel challenged, in our personal lives or with what's going on in our country, we need to remind ourselves that nature can serve as a source of nourishment and resilience. This month, we ask the question: what is your geography of hope? Do you have a place in nature that nourishes you, that you go to often to replenish and reflect? If not, we encourage you to find one. Share your answer on Facebook or Instagram, or by email. We are all enriched each time someone shares their story.
And we hope that Black Mountain Circle is a Geography of Hope for you: a place where you can always come to find story, spirit, and nature. Join us for more upcoming events (listed in this newsletter and on our website).
Steve Costa and Kate Levinson