At one point after we had planned out the summer itinerary, I realized we didn’t make room for any of the summer events at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park and it just didn’t sit right with me. Thankfully, it turned out we had a variety of possible events to attend the first weekend of September and I was thrilled when Andie agreed that we should go to Nelson Ledges for Summerdance. I’m sure that Lotus headlining on three consecutive nights didn’t negatively influence her opinion.
Nelson Ledges Quarry Park is somewhere between well and not-well known amongst music fans, festgoers and hippies. Many people know of it, but few seem to have become true veterans of the Quarry. I discovered the Quarry (and Gratefulfest) my second summer in Cleveland and managed to get there three more weekends before the snow hit the ground. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve been captured by some sense of magic… Something about this place is timeless and ancient, profound and vague at the same time. The cold water streams that jet up into the quarry from somewhere deep within the earth are a testament to the scale and scope of this place – a location that is surrounded by an air of “this was here long before any of you” and “this shall remain long after you.”
It’s not the quarry waters or shelved stone framing the pool, the beach area with music stage that provides so much aural pleasure on a hot summer’s day as you float in the clear cool water, the deep woods surrounding it, the tribe of “quarry people” that seem to reside there all summer long, or the transient fans that attend the festivals that make the place so special, though each contribute.
What makes this place special is events like the sunsets… the light that shines here a little different than anywhere else, illuminating things uniquely. It is the appearance of the messengers, out of darkness without warning or fanfare, that sit next to your fire and deliver the answer to your question. It is the loss of time and space you experience while you’re here, lost things finally found once again, and the knowing that you are in a place of family and legacy… a place owned by a family and shared with a larger family.
I call places like this – these places where you sense a steady hum of energy buzzing constantly just below an unseen surface, just out of sight and touch –
The land itself, this unique geography is somehow connected with the world just beyond our own in some intimate way, and you cannot help but feel it if you spend any significant time there. I have found only a few true “soul places” in my life, and when I do I’ll be sure to share them because these are the places to go and rest, find inspiration, find answers, just think, or even be healed.
Although September turned an early corner weather-wise and we didn’t get to float in the quarry waters together while listening to sound waves bend and refract across the surface before bouncing off million year-old rock ledges, this summer’s Summerdance brought Andie an unexpected epiphany, both of us new and interesting friends, and a set of images (see below) that can never give a full testimonial to, but hopefully a decent glimpse of, the beauty and energy that Nelson Ledges offers.
For more about Nelson Ledges Quarry Park:
Summerdance 2017 – Photo Gallery