Exploring the stylistic texts, images, and provocative meanings
of contemporary & classic cultural arts.
Pictured from far right to left are: “Christie” Cummings, Aberjhani, John Beary, Zoe Randall, Javier Matos, and Susan Patrice. (April 6, 1996 Creative Loafing photo by Marcus Kenney from Bright Skylark LP Archives. Originally published with story titled “Commune Strives to Blend Art and Life Into One Big Picture” by Bob Ruggiero)
Some like-minded, and like-spirited, friends once told me that because we had spent so much time “meditating in the light together” we would always be connected on certain levels. That is how I feel about my now departed multi-talented friend Christia Cummings-Slack (?-2022): artist, spiritual coach, women’s empowerment advocate, angelologist, and courageous compassionate human being.
We met in the mid-1990s during the hey-day of the former Blue House, described in Dreams of the Immortal City Savannah as a place were: “…artists, poets, musicians, soldiers, and social theorists had gathered to share their talents and talk about possibilities for Savannah’s future. There were black, white, Latino, male, female…” She was then a recent graduate of SCAD and I a bookstore manager also recognized as a columnist and poet.
Christia, known then as Christine Cummings, was also a principal supporter of the now legendary Blue House and a member of the production team for its “’zine” journal publication: OUT OF THE BLUE. The theme for its fall 1996 issue was “A Celebration of Home.” Among the contributors were: now well-known artists like Marcus Kenney and James Russell May; plus, an excerpt from work by poet Audre Lorde (1934-1992) and poems by Blue House founder Susan Patrice, Kathleen Thompson, Don Newman, Louisa Abbot, and Zoe Randall (among others).
Christine and I also contributed to that special historic issue. My contributions to the journal were the poem “Calligraphy of Intimacy” from I Made My Boy of Poetry, and a review of a mini-concert by a beloved acid-jazz rock group called the Hunab Ku Quartet.
Christine may have been the most prolific contributor of us all to that second issue of Out of Blue. In addition to drawings and ads about workshops she was conducting, included was an untitled prose piece in which she reflected on the emotional pros and cons of going home for Thanksgiving. Within her words are clear signs of an evolving spiritual seeker as she notes observations like:
“I have been learning lately that if you really need to do something or want something that is ultimately good for you, the energy will be there to make it so.” In response to an aunt’s interpretation of the sudden appearance of certain caterpillars, she later states: “…I feel as though I am in my cocoon already emerged in the darkness and beginning to transform into a soul that can fly free…”
Christina also contributed to the Out of the Blue journal something which took me completely by surprise. It was a poem:
Autumn by Christine Cummings
She tires easy now
The wind blows cooler
Her color changes
The wind blows faster
Her color fades
She misses the warmth of the sun
and children playing around her.
Soon she will be barren
She will get sleepy
and draw within herself
and dream while
her roots draw
nourishment from the
Great Source, the Great
Mother, feeding her
dreams of belonging
and of coming HOME.
The Blue House had to close its doors after a few years and our life paths led us in different directions determined by personal obligations. Via occasional in-person visits and a new thing called email, we managed to lose touch with each other reconnect many times over the years. We shared a passion for angel lore, which in her works manifested as inspiring art and channeled insights. In mine, it took the form of poems that gave birth to the book The River of Winged Dreams. We also both greatly appreciated and drew encouragement from the poetry of Rumi.
All of this meant we were able to encourage each during uncertain times in our lives. She thought I got it wrong when I said a popular journalist friend of mine would likely become a friend of hers as well because I felt the essence of their natures to be very similar. She later decided I got it right. When we discussed the “possibility” of her becoming engaged to Richard Slacks Jr., something in her voice told me it was already a beautiful done deal, and one that would bless both their lives for a long time.
It was an honor to watch, from a short distance, as she evolved in the manner which she sensed was to come when writing in Out of the Blue and became: Christia. I smiled to read the different testimonies of people who said she touched their lives in healing and sometimes life-changing ways. Almost like an Earth-Angel they had never dreamed of encountering.
For her part, she knew her approach to spirituality would be viewed as “radical” by some and did not apologize for it. Just the opposite in fact: “I AM A Certified Angelic Life Coach, an Ordained Minister, Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, and hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in painting.” Such radicalism, if it really can be called such, seemed an essential antidote to the extremes of violence and hatred which flooded the world throughout her lifetime.
This remembrance tribute to my friend could have ended with her poem. At this particular time in history, however, I feel it more important to end with the following words from her 2005 op ed letter published in CONNECT Savannah: “Now is the time to be Peace, Love, and Understanding in the face of conflict, pain, and suffering. Now is the time to BE LOVE.”
Think of how much the world could gain at this very moment if humanity chose to take to its collective heart those extremely simple and profoundly wise words.