Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lessons From An Abandoned Quarry

It's an abandoned quarry that seems to be in the middle of nowhere.
It's up in the mountains, down a long dirt road.
But no vehicles travel there now. You have to walk down the road yourself to get there.
And it all seems frozen in time.
The quarry, known during its operating days as the Chester-Hudson Quarry, played a key role in the early development of the Town of Becket (Mass.) and the surrounding area.
Granite from this quarry was used for monuments in many states. The quarry was operational from the 1860's to the 1960's.
Truck - Photograph by H. David Stein When the quarry was abandoned, much of the equipment and structures were left just as it was (as if the quarrymen had gone for lunch and never returned). The site has stayed the same, plus some rust, until now.
The Historic Quarry and Forest is open year round, dawn to dusk, and admission is free to the public. It's all part of the Becket Land Trust.
A self-guided tour is available at the historic quarry site. Beginning in the parking lot (the Gateway), visitors can continue up the access trail and pass numerous markers describing artifacts and objects including pieces of machinery, tools, trucks and buildings.
In addition, old rail beds that lie dormant, remind visitors of the time when the stone was transported down into the town of Chester for processing. A brochure containing helpful definitions and information about the tour can be found at the kiosk (located at the quarry entrance, throughout the Berkshires, at the Mullen House Education Center, and on this website. Also available is a separate trail map of the historic walk.
We talk the walk and examined the artifacts and the quarry site.
We found it to be eerily beautiful.
And the lessons?
Well, it all reminds us that our natural resources are finite.
So we must continue to explore and find new ways to gather new materials and reap the benefits of the earth while being mindful  of our responsibility to the whole.
We cannot abandon our efforts the way the quarry was abandoned.
Nor can we freeze time, as the other-worldly nature of the abandoned quarry might suggest.
We must be adventurous. We must continue to take risks; to explore.
Always, we must move forward. Avanti!

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