A Walk in the Woods

One of the things I love about Burlington is that you can be in the city and in the woods at the same time. Not only that, but you can explore one of Vermont’s rarest natural communities – a Limestone Bluff Cedar Pine Forest – just a couple of miles north and west of the bustle of Church Street. Last Sunday, six of us did just that, and in the process delved into 600 million years of landscape history, from bedrock to vegetation. Even for someone without a prior interest in geology, the Champlain Thrust Fault at Lone Rock Point is a fascinating site. Its sheer beauty alone is worth a visit, but the site contains a landscape mystery that puzzled geologists from around the world for years – why is the 565 million year-old dolomitic limestone sitting on top of the much younger (by some 130 million years) shale??

In addition to contemplating ancient oceans, the ability of northern white cedars to grow sideways out of minute cracks in the rock, and the processes behind the change in leaf colors from green to orange, red, and purple, we managed to fit in conversations about sustainable living, the nature of ecological systems and human societies, and how all this might relate to spiritual teachings. We will likely continue these conversations, both in the woods and at the Center. If you want to be part of future explorations, please contact Kerstin at [email protected]DSCN5826DSCN5834