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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

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gandhi on Children (Montessori School, 1931)

And believe me from my experience of hundreds, I was going to say thousands, of children I know that they have perhaps a finer sense of honor than you and I have. The greatest lessons in life if we would but stoop and humble ourselves, we would learn not from grown-up learned men, but from the so-called ignorant children. Jesus never uttered a loftier or a grander truth than when he said that wisdom cometh out of the mouths of babes. I believe it; I have noticed it in my own experience that, if we would approach babes in humility and in innocence, we would learn wisdom from them. I must not take up your time. I have simply given you what is, at the present moment, agitating me, namely, the delicate problem, considered in human terms, of drawing out the best from these millions of children of whom I have told you. But I have learned this one lesson - that what is impossible with man is child's play with God and, if we have faith in that Divinity which presides over the destiny of the meanest of His creation, I have no doubt that all things are possible and in that final hope I live and pass my time and endeavor to obey His will. Therefore, I repeat that even as you, out of your love for children, are endeavoring to teach those children, through your numerous institutions, the best that can be brought out of them, even so I hope that it will be possible not only for the children of the wealthy and the well-to-do, but for the children of paupers to receive training of this nature. You have very truly remarked that if we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have the struggle, we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.


  1. When they are young, if we can but keep ourselves clear and perfect... they may grow up clear and perfect. But sometimes, this is so much easier said than done that it never happens.

  2. I always hoped that all the "kids" and we would be happy to be all part of one thing-- flowing forever on-- being more and greater with each generation. I know that many out there are happy they had a QH childhood. I know there are some who are apparently so unhappy about it that they're close to delusionary about what actually happened. I just want those who read this to know that everything Brion and I did was aimed at making the kids happy and giving them the kind of perfect freedom Gandhi speaks of. If it didn't always work out, it wasn't meant as anything but perfect joy.And I still believe that the seeds we sowed will bloom more beautifully than others-- perhaps in other fields-- but all the more wonderful for having been seeded among us.

  3. I used to come to Quarry Hill in the 60's, when Ken Levy drove people up from NYC. What happened to him?
    My experience with freedom at QH led to my helping found a Sudbury school, the Brooklyn Free School, which off-shot the Manhattan Free School. Cheer up, no matter what you do there's always criticism.
    Thanks, Mariel