September 11, 2011, Blue Mountain Center

Ten years ago today at Blue Mountain Center, the 15 residents in session from late August to late September 2001, already a close community, grew closer still thanks to BMC executive director Harriet Barlow’s extraordinarily guidance through an unnavigable event. Those residents received a version of the following via email from her today. One of them has asked her to share it with 10YAC.
 
It is that kind of a day: blindingly blue sky, crisp, clean air, sparkling lake. The terrors echo up, a failure of repression. One is still destabilized by awful uncertainties that multiplied for hours upon hours, even weeks beyond.  Estimates of the dead rose and fell as the missing reappeared, or did not.
 
Here then: 15 artists on an Adirondack porch, begging warmth from the baking stones beneath and the sun above. Andrew Ginzel guides us as we count out grains of rice, one for each reported casualty.  The mound in the bowl in the center of our dining room table accompanies us through the month. Could we have even imagined the myriad costs that followed?  Can we mortals hold that many forms of disappointment and loss in our still-reptilian brains?
 
And yet, the solace of place—nature raw and groomed, capacious and immediate; and the steadying company—an instant and permanent community of compassion, holding us, granting the hope of sanity beyond. 
 
Work for peace.

 

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