• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Quarry

Air Date: Week of

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file

Just below Lover’s Leap (Photo: Rod Clark)

Writer Rod Clark revisits an old limestone quarry near the village where he grew up, and finds the towering cliffs and hidden caves still a magnet for children today, and full of memories.


CURWOOD: Some memories remain evergreen in our minds, decades after the person who had the experience has moved on. At least that’s what writer Rod Clark found, when he revisited a childhood haunt decades later.

Mysterious woods on the upper level (Photo: Rod Clark)

CLARK: Children are playing hide and seek in the old limestone quarry at the edge of the village where I grew up. I hear them as I walk; their voices ringing high and clear, echoing off the high stone walls among the mysterious trees. Crows complain; squirrels scold the invaders from the safety of green branches. And suddenly, I am carried back to summer days in the ’50s, when my brothers and I played “Scatter” and “Capture the Flag” on the two wooded levels of the quarry.

Near Deadman’s cave (Photo: Rod Clark)

CLARK: Remembering how we crept among the sumac and the shadows of boulders. How honeysuckle perfumed the air; how once I saw a possum hanging by its tail in the cool shade of a Catalpa. And I remember how we named the secret places of our playground: “Pirates Path”, “Lover’s Leap”, “Dead Man’s Cave”, and most marvelous of all, “Cool Cave”, which possessed in its depths a limestone nook where you could keep a bottle of Coke cold even in the heat of summer.

The entrance to the cool cave (Photo: Rod Clark)

CLARK: And as I ascend the path to the uppermost ridge to look down on a world mapped by children, some of whom are no longer alive, a small boy pops out of the brush in front of me, his eyes wide, burrs tangled in his hair. “Are there any pirates down there?” he demands breathlessly. But I am no longer of his world and cannot answer him.

Pirates Playground, lower level (Photo: Rod Clarke)

CLARK: Without waiting for a reply, he plunges into the green realm below. I hear the rapid patter of his feet descending to the second level—punctuated with improbable leaps and bounds, and suddenly I realize what it is I have been seeking when I make this pilgrimage to the old quarry. Because it is my childhood that is racing away from me, down the steep pathway, among the mysterious trees.

Quarry wall on the upper level (Photo: Rod Clark)

CURWOOD: Rod Clark lives and writes in Cambridge, Wisconsin. He's the editor and publisher of Rosebud magazine, and he took some pictures of the old quarry. They're at our website, LOE.org.



Rod Clark is the editor of Rosebud Magazine


Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth