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Welcome to Quarry Hill's Blog!

Quarry Hill Creative Center in Rochester, VT, founded 1946 by Barbara and Irving Fiske, is Vermont's oldest alternative community and at one time was probably also its largest. In the 60s -80s, as many as 90 people lived here.
It was and is visited each year, often in summer (but in every season, really) by visitors from all over the world.
We welcome interesting and creative people who are peaceful, bring no weapons, don't believe in hitting children or killing animals, and enjoy the beauty of Vermont and of themselves.

Most of us do not adhere to any particular dogma or religion, though many do find Eastern philosophy closest to our own thought (some of us are also members of the Quakers/Society of Friends).
We value the individual, particularly people who are energetic and have a sense of humor.
Visitors are welcome-- and prospective residents, too. There are some places for rent, others for sale. If interested, get in touch!
And, please follow the Blog and comment whenever you like!

"The symbol is the enemy of the reality, and the reality is ever one's true guide, true friend, true companion, and true self." Irving Fiske, 1908-1990

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

poem for winter

I heard a bird sing 
In the dark of December
"We are nearer the Spring
Than we were in September"

-- old poem

Random and possibly inaccurate thoughts about spring.

Never published this. I wish it were germane to the moment!

It's a beautiful spring at Quarry Hill. Mud season has gone by, and bug season has arrived, but it doesn't matter (though it's surely better to go out early in the day, and to wear some bug repellent). Spring is my favorite time of the year in Vermont, though the glories of Autumn are inimitable (but followed by long cold winter)
 I love the curve of a flowering apple tree with pink and white blossoms, expecting to see little angel girls looking through the branches as in the old print that hung on the wall of the bedroom in the old Farmhouse here when I was a kid.

Many daffodils didn't make it this year, as we had a late frost. But the late fragrant ones did come and one can catch a whiff of the multiple white blossoms with yellow hearts when walking up the steps to my house. June lilies, or the poetica narcissus (Poet's narcissus), are beginning to bloom with their scent which goes right to the heart of memory.   Coming home from our travels for the winter--sometimes late, sometimes too early-- the Poetica narcissus would often be the flower that greeted us, or that I remember most clearly, on our return. Did it bloom earlier then? No question that the atmosphere is much hotter and it's more difficult to stay outside longer. Some say the maple trees will be gone in 75 years or less due to global warming. I hope not,  and am relieved that I won't be here (in this body, anyway) to see that...

No season says NOW as clearly as Spring, now now now, here and now, boys (and girls). Daffodils and hyacinth give way to roses and clematis, and then to daylilies, which Robert E. Lee is said to have remarked upon as the "sign of the neglected gardens of the future." One doesn't think of Gen. Lee as having been a gardening sort of person.... certainly he didn't plant things himself...but he owned a plantation, which had belonged to George Washington's family, I think (his wife, Mary Custis Lee, was the granddaughter of Martha Washington).  Do daylilies bloom in Virginia? I suppose so. My garden is full of glorious daylilies ... and the garden is hardly neglected.

I haven't written much for this blog for a long time. Not even sure I noted the bursts of publicity that arose following Barbara's death on April 28, 2014. There's an interesting thing about Spring... for Quarry Hill. It happened that April 10, 1946 was the day Barbara and Irv bought the land, Lyra, my cousin, also was born that day, Irving died April 25, 1990, and Barb died three days later but many years after him. Andrew was born in May... Springtime is a special time at Quarry Hill. Everyone creeps out of their caves, physical or psychological, and delight in planting little organic vegetable patches. We've never been an agrarian group, but now Ben Falk, our next door neighbor at Magi-La, is doing all that with Permaculture, so it's ok if we don't.

Spring peepers seem to mostly have gone by now, but the nights are peaceful and full of dark fertile noises of mating creatures in the wooded hills. The pond is full of salamanders and frog eggs (I actually need to look to make sure there are eggs there-- frogs are dying off around the world, I hear).
The moon and Mars were in conjunction (appeared to be together) in Sagittarius a few days ago. The degree was "The ocean covered with whitecaps." The Sun had moved on from flowery Taurus to busy Gemini, "Santa Claus filling stockings furtively."  The Sabian Symbols (images chosen at random by Elsie Wheeler, who was said to be psychic, in about 1925, with the guidance of Mark Edmund Jones). These have always been popular here, though no one here takes Astrology completely seriously!
It's an art, a language, but not a science or a religion. IN any case, the Moon/Mars conjunction was lovely-- Mars "full," like the Moon, so we could see it all. What a great joy...

The best thing about spring is that the kids come out and play in the Knoll tree as many have before them, in the present tree or the one before it, and race up and down the hills and dabble in the pond... play on the swings... and do all the things I did, with my brother and my cousins and my nearby friends, a long time ago.
December 2016

It is the beginning of Winter.
Do Thanksgiving, Christmas and other festivals come at the  early part of Winter because it is so difficult to accept, at least in a cold region, that the last golden leaf is gone? The icy, slippery bars of winter are closing in, so we decorate them with holly and pine, and let the light face. The astrologers and the Gaia mystics and many others call this the most profound time of the year, stick season (though now the snow is coming), the time of inner turning.

I could do without it, since as a child I was almost always long gone... no, always gone, as far as I remember, before the depths of winter came. I do remember leaving here among snow and ice but I think (could this be so?) that these colder times came at an earlier moment in the year. Or were we here in early December? 
C/S. Lewis' phrase about "always Winter, never Christmas" keeps coming to mind. Though Christmas is definitely racing down upon us with its demands to buy things. One good thing, when all the hullaballoo is gone, and Christmas is past, the year will have turned back toward Spring again.

I have to put up the bird feeders. Animals suffer for our carelessness... and for much more, as Facebook reminds me every day with its images of dogs shot and buried alive... I can't think about  it at the moment but every day, I try, as do so many others, to staunch the bleeding wounds created by vile psychopaths (I fear some are children) who damage animals as a way of... what?
Evoking the pain they feel (or don't feel)?

Laws, I fear, need to be a lot more ferocious and thoroughly looked into and enforced to help animals. For years I tried just to keep children from being hit and slapped and beaten... they too are suffering.

"She had always known that all things suffered."
-- Vina Delmar, Beloved

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Time for a new post!

Check out Barbara Hall Fiske Calhoun's page on Facebook. I am in the process of creating it and we invite memories photos,etc...
We are all well at Quarry Hill, and it may soon transmute into an artist's colony again-- which is what it was meant to be.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Vive La France!

I stand with the people in France who were killed and tortured by extremists the other day. I believe in openness to all ways of thinking, except where they hurt other people... especially, but not limited to, children.

The people at the French satirical magazine who were killed were people much like friends of mine, many of whose works appear on Facebook as well as in many other places.  The magazine reminds me of the East Village Other, a satirical and anti-establishment underground  paper (famous, probably most people know of it).

Cartoonists and satirical writers, for that matter,think differently from other people in many ways. I probably wouldn't draw a picture that would get me killed. But, like most of the cartoonists it's been my privilege to know in this life, there is nothing that will stop them from drawing and publishing what matters to them, and I admire that.

We must all stand with the people of France and the world leaders (sadly not John Kerry, who probably should have been there if Pres Obama felt he could not go, but glad Eric Holder was there) and those many, many others who say, "I refuse to be afraid!!"

This has nothing to do with my support in the past for the Muslim people who were being harassed in every possible way, yet had nothing to do with 9/11.  I feel it must be awful to  be aligned in people's minds with those terrorist acts. But I hope that Muslims as well as others will refuse, as they did in Paris yesterday, to allow the Fundamentalists-- of which we have plenty, also, in some Christian churches and other places-- to run their lives.

(Singing Marsaillaise)

-- Ladybelle (Isabella Fiske McFarlin)'
This is my opinion and not that of anyone else at Quarry Hill who does not state their agreement. I can't keep quiet. But no one else is responsible for these words.