Still Learning To See

Seeing into a different time

The hike up Irish Hill in Berlin was remarkable on many counts. Certainly seeing the wild flowers again was like greeting old friends. And having Michael’s perspective and knowledge as a historian brought new layers of meaning to much of what we saw.

We were only missing a geologist! Was that an unconformity between the shale and underlying granite?  Did the granite fracture naturally on that hillside or was it quarried, or both? And then there were the greater questions about the forming of the granite itself and story of the glacier that shaped the land much later.

One of the few signs of the past human activity in the quarry were a few marks left by drilling as the stone was split apart.

The granite quarry we found at the top of Irish Hill dates from 1800’s. With little else to document it other than the rubble pile and the quarry pond, one can only imagine. Honestly, imagining was not hard to do! A distant train sounding as it came into Riverton set the tone and on the long, slow hike down it I could almost see horse-drawn wagons or sledges piled with cut stone. Heaps of “grout”—the unuseable blocks of granite left over as waste— are now simply home to porcupines and lichen. But who moved them all and how? What were these “Irish” like?

Lichen covers the granite grout pile.

Seeing through a camera’s viewfinder is so clear compared to “reading the landscape” of near and distant history! I’ll have to dig out a couple of books, including an old favorite by May Watt and a couple of newer finds by Tom Wessels. I’ll also look for a geologist who wants to do some light hiking!

The old quarry hole, now filled with water, mirrors my two hiking pals, Michael and Rob.

This entry was published on April 9, 2012 at 7:50 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Seeing into a different time

  1. Cassie on said:

    John, do you know George Springstein from Plainfield?
    He’s a geologist that might tag along with you. You can tell him I gave you his name…if you like. His wife is Rose Paul who works for the Nature Conservancy.

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