In 2009, Vermont and New York celebrated two anniversaries of historical discovery and exploration – Samuel de Champlain’s and Henry Hudson’s 1609 “discoveries” of the regions that would come to bear their names. Having researched the 1909 celebrations in both the Champlain Valley and New York City, I was struck by how clear a picture those events offered of America’s proto-imperial mindset at the time. I wanted to write something that might inspire a 400th anniversary celebration that focused on peace-making rather than war-mongering. I played Johnny Appleseed in my 4th grade play, and I think that there was a sort of John Chapman-the-Swedenborgian Evangelist impulse behind this book – which I intended to “seed” on a peace pilgrimage from Montreal to Manhattan in the spring of 2009.
Seeing nearly everything now through an esoteric Christian lens, the book also took up the topic of another anniversary – Rudolf Steiner’s 1909 proclamation of the advent of Christ in the etheric realm of the earth, and the adversarial challenge to that appearance. Future historians will no doubt consider this as my strangest book!