Upon my most recent visit snow blanketed the redstone quarry’s cliff and open sections. I can’t help but to think slightly of snow white (red and white mixing with the darkening sky) and of what is to come of the Redstone quarry in winter. I imagine the hibernation of the squirrels up in the trees, and the beginning of ice forming on the edges of the pond and over the tiny stream. As I sit hearing the wind run through the trees I look down and think about all the years I am standing above. All the years embedded in the Redstone, the history of time separate from me by the soles of my shoes. I begin to think of how young the growth is on top of it. The growth that filled in after the mining period of this location. How the water must of worked its way in. How the pond formed because that section of the Quarry was dug into just a bit deeper than the rest. I wonder what the future holds for the spot, what growth will come, what new life will inhabit the area, how long the redstone will be exposed till broken down by wind and water into soil. I feel the years behind close and the possibility of the years ahead powerful. Remarkable where thinking about nature will take you.
The start of Redstone Quarry begins with sand deposits from the Iapetus ocean that was compressed into the rock we see today. Then humans came along.. It is of no surprise that mining has a long history in Vermont, so much so that this old Redstone Quarry is found almost in the middle of Burlington. This quarry where “Monkton” ( also know as Redstone) was mined had been established and quarried from for over 100 years. The very stone from this quarry was used in construction for many of the older buildings at UVM, including my own dorm. By the 1930’s it wasn’t much of a working quarry anymore and in 1958 University of Vermont bought the 3-acre area. As of now this area is used for research and for geology class taken at UVM. I imagine the space is also used by the neighbors that are close by as a bit of nature right outside their door. It is also filled with different vegetation and provides different habitats for species, this was not the case before when it was a working quarry.
Back Home– Description of Place -(Leopold style)
The snow has started to fall down, slowly swaying to land on wet darkened leaves. To the side water gushes down a stream, gurgling enjoying its full banks. The water rushes over the rock bed, like a silken scarf, bundling the land up for winter. Looking up I see bare branches that let the grey sky slip through their grasps and fall down to my eyes. I scan around and am filled with memories of this time year in this spot. I see a year with snow blanketing the earth and my dog jumping through it. I see another year with warmer temperatures and the trees still clinging to their multi-color leaves. I realize the strength of this place and the changes. A build up of water on one sides feeds the roaring water on the other, as it always has. I know this means that Pittsburgh has gotten lots of rain recently, otherwise it the stream would have less force. I take one last glance of the bed of leaves filling the trails and know I’ll be back soon to see more changes.
New and Old– Comparison of Redstone Quarry and Frick Park- (Holland)
The difference between these two locations are not numerous. Frick park has a damp conditions same to Redstone Quarry and native and invasive species as well. For the invasive buckthorn at the Quarry, Frick has an invasive species of Bush Honeysuckle. Both taking over the landscape. While Redstone has thickets of bushy areas and then spots of open stone and then bunches of cattails, Frick is dominated by trees, deciduous trees with few areas of open grass and one small wetland spot. Some difference between these locations is the temperature. Vermont right now is colder and got colder sooner than Pittsburgh and thus the leaves are almost completely gone from the leaves where as here in Pittsburgh there are still a few trees with the majority of their leaves on. One other difference that is easily seen is the type of species in the two locations. Redstone has more coniferous trees in its midst unlike Frick park with its few. Still with this all in mind the two locations seem to have more comparisons than differences. They overlap in more ways than can be seen.
As the sun sets behind the green backs of the ‘dacks,
I wander over a bed of wet amber leaves and approach rock.
Water fills in over every crack of diluted red rock beneath my feet.
Then I hear wind rattle through everything,
a promise of something.
The small stream and pond are full, happy.
Water oozing out over their sides, onto the trails
for my feet to splash in while my eyes get lost in.
The wind rushes in now with force
I feel a message prickling at my ears
a message not of words but feeling.
Its time to head back,
more water is promised.
This last visit was one filled with water! Rain has been very prevalent that last couple of days and Redstone Quarry showed this on full display. Areas that last time were dry now had small puddles or even in one area there was almost a new small pond forming. A few areas along the trail were take over from overflown water in the wet areas next to it. Also my visit to actually pond provide to be interesting. Last time I mentioned the algae growth along the top of the water but this time when I came up the algae was more in patches along the surface not a complete mat. I think the high influx of water caused this but maybe something with the changing temperatures or somehow a decrease in nutrients. As last time when i talked about the golden leaves on the ground, there are still branches holding on to there leaves but the trails today were completely covered in leaves and provided a type of carpet. Another change I notice was a a few tree branches had fallen down and some grasses as well as the numerous cattails were blown down/ bent over. I think the recent strong winds have caused this. Another nuance for the cattails was a lot of their green stems have changed to a light gold rose color. The area is also very quiet right now, I heard only a few birds here or there and I was lucky enough to see some geese fly over head. But among the other animals in this area many were not out and about, only a lone squirrel.
As I approach my site new golden leaves cover the ground. The trees with there bare branches almost look cold as a chilly breeze runs through them. The yellow contrasts with the greens and browns and reds still present but it compliments the sun rays striking through the thin canopy. Many of the flowers have bent low under the pressure of the changing season and so fall has started. The preparation for winter is happening.
Some other changes I spot on this visit from last are the changing colors of most plants against the everlasting green of the few coniferous trees in the area. Also the temperature is only about 10 degrees cooler than last time. The little canopy cover my spot had before is even less now letting more light to hit the ground in certain spots. And the large red stone cliffs look as if nothing has changed.
Last time I was here I heard quite a few birds but it is eerily silent today. I spot some squirrels in the woodier area leading up to my spot. Along the trees I see remnants of some nests from this previous spring and summer. I don’t have enough time to go scouring for holes that could promise burrows under the ground. The largest water spot a small pond is covered in duckweed which makes me think very little is below the surface. In another water area I see some water bugs and small organisms in the water but nothing prominent.