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.
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?
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!