The pleasures of Blue Mountain Center are many and some can be organized by water, land, the mind, and….drum roll….the kitchen.
All images can be clicked on for an enlargement.
The lake is the place for exercise after those hours working on the manuscript OR a place for working on the manuscript. Or it is just the place for cooling off.
A few hardy souls swim the third of a mile across the lake — accompanied by a canoeist so as to be protected from the occasional motorboats. A few days ago we held our collective breath for 3 of our aquabats when a speed-happy Mr. Toad of Toad Hall appeared at the far end of the lake. Ann was in the canoe and acting mother duck, but we think it was Henri’s fluorescent pink swim cap that saved him.
There are plenty of opportunities to exert oneself on a path through the woods, or on a scramble up a mountain. But my favorite part of the land is the BMC garden.
The deer are not afraid of humans. Mike said he bumped a deer with the kitchen door this morning. The deer stayed in place and kept munching on a tasty tree.
FOOD! Not only food to remember, but food as an art of the highest order. Fresh, original, health-minded fare — each meal a surprise to the palette. Allen is the amazing full-time cook, but the love of one’s heart goes to Sis and Diane in the morning. They ease you into the day, always with good cheer and sometimes with motherly promptings.
Twice a week the dinner meal is prepared by the staff and volunteer residents. Last night we made pizza — six different kinds of pizza, some gluten free, some vegetarian, some with outstanding salami and not-your-run-of-the-mill olives. I counted 4 varieties of cheese on the chopping table — nary a Cheddar or a Jack in sight. Homemade pizza dough. I am getting so spoiled!
Huzzah! For Colette and Hannah, the staff members who lead the team. And to Ben, BMC co-director, who skillfully scrubbed the kitchen dishes.
Delivered on time and (presumably) on budget, this meal impressed me because it was prepared by very competent amateurs for 26 people. BMC had extra guests last night, including writer Oliver Sacks, the author of The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, Musicophelia, and more.
Dr. Sacks has been a resident at BMC many times over the years and said that he has done much of his writing here. After the meal he gave a reading of his recent essay about turning 80 and facing death. He was wearing a tee shirt displaying the emblem for Mercury, the number for which is 80 on the periodic table of the elements. His reading was spoken in a gentle, honest, direct, and uncomplicated voice. It is an essay for the ears as well as for the eyes. It was published recently in the NY Times. You can read it here. Such a joy and unexpected privilege to hear him!
BMC is a place filled to the brim and overflowing with the pleasures of Learning. The house is full of books and art. The residents volunteer to give readings or demonstrations about their work. (After each event I come away feeling both awe-struck and as though I have a new sibling.)
And Ashley just might teach you how to sail.
The problem is that there is so much to see and do here that one might never get any WORK done!