Thanks, Blue Mountain Center!

Blue Mountain Center in the Adirondacks. They welcomed us into a grand wooden lodge at the edge of a loony lake surrounded by garden and forest and sky.

Blue Mountain is one of those places that is a Shangri-La for artists and activists who come for month-long residencies. They have sheltered KtBniks Ashley and Jeff in the past, and will welcome Meera later this year, supporting each of us as we work on the other writing projects that fill our lives when we’re not killing Buddhas here. But for a few days, between sessions, they generously offered this peaceful place to us for a KtB retreat. It was a rare opportunity for us to sit back and talk about where we’d like to see the site, now nearly ten years old, go in the decade to come.

More multimedia, the sound of people living out their beliefs in story and song. More outsider voices, a space for those relegated to the margins of not just faith, but society. More about the intersection of religion, culture and politics with the natural world we all inhabit. More books to carry the words from pixels to pages. And, of course, in these challenging times for every publication, how to do this in a way that sustains the site and the humans involved. And you, dear reader, please feel free to add your thoughts for what you’d like to see more (or less) of on the site.

We weren’t alone at our mountain retreat. Author and activist Bill McKibben and the fine young folks from were also huddling, organizing and strategizing for an international Day of Action on October 24 to get the message out that we need to get our CO2 levels back down to 350 parts per million (we’re at 387 now) if we are at all attached to life as we know it. So while we batted around book ideas, they were solving the climate change problem on a global level. Did we already mention the word humble?

Mostly we were untethered from the umbilical cord of the Internet, but the good news about Nathan’s piece in The New York Times, which increased traffic to the site tenfold, trickled in from the outside world. There was a birthday; it involved carrot cake. There were clear nights where the Milky Way and Jupiter, encircled by her four visible moons, were a feast for city eyes that had forgotten how to focus on objects whose distance away is measured in light years.

So, may we propose a toast? To the Blue Mountain Center, a tremendous hurrah and heaps of gratitude for providing a space and place for the still moments that lead to movement.

P.S. And a lovely note floats in from Bill McKibben a few days later:

just a note to say how much fun it was to meet you all, and how happy i now know about KTB–what great pieces! this is a truly needed thing, and well done indeed! — bill