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Friday, May 16, 2008

Opinions

Waiting for the Saturday morning Farmers Market

Unfortunately I was out-of-town on April 5 and missed the community planning forum sponsored by the Liveable Carlisle Community group. However, I did enjoy reading about it the following week in the April 11 Mosquito. As was clear from what I read, people living in Carlisle are seeking places to get together, and more opportunities for connecting with one another. Yes, I agree, I would like more opportunities to see my friends and neighbors. But then I remembered one of the newer ways I can see people from Carlisle – attending the Carlisle Farmers Market at the Kimball Farm parking lot during the summer.

I have to admit, I love going to the Farmers Market from July to October, where I sometimes sell eggs, even when I run into someone who tells me she didn’t like what I wrote in my latest Editorial. It is there I see people with whom I used to watch cross-country and track meets at the high school many years ago, or someone from the Carlisle Food Co-op of the 1970s.

Last week, folks who take part in the Farmers Market got together to plan for the coming season, which will begin on Old Home Day, June 28, on the Green and then regularly on Saturday mornings, from 8 a.m. until noon at Kimball’s. Here are some of the ideas that were discussed:

• A picnic table placed near the market area where customers will be able to sit and enjoy coffee and baked goods that are for sale,

• A community table where seasonal crops (for example, raspberries for three weeks) can be sold, where students seeking community service might take part or fill in for those away on vacation,

• A Flea Market at the end of the season, and the possibility of a community flea market, including maps showing homes where items will be on sale.

Carlisle’s Farmers Market is one of the few markets featuring “back-yard gardeners.” It is unlike Bedford’s, which features larger farming operations selling produce. Here in Carlisle, all items, including crafts, sold at the Farmers Market until September 1, must be made in Massachusetts. After that, other goods from other states or abroad may be sold.

Market Managers Gayle Constable and Annette Lee would welcome more ideas and definitely would like more “back-yard farmers” to contribute to the market on a regular basis. Give them a call.

RSS Carlisle

A couple of years ago Boston Magazine identified Carlisle as a great town for “quiet lovers.” By this I think they meant lovers of quiet not, well… never mind.

As someone who spends much of most working days in downtown Boston I’d agree Carlisle is relatively quiet. But quiet is not silence. As the late composer John Cage was fond of pointing out, if you sit still in a soundproof room, and have typical hearing capacity, you will eventually perceive two sounds: the deep, rhythmic, pulsing of blood through your circulatory system, and a high pitched hum, that Cage attributed to the operation of the central nervous system.

It is darn near impossible to avoid many of the sounds of the modern world, an unavoidable byproduct of the high power-to-weight ratio of modern engines, even in places much more remote than Carlisle. Journey to any wilderness area in the Rocky Mountains and you will still hear the distant roar of transcontinental jets far overhead. And located beneath a landing pattern for Logan Airport and landing and takeoff patterns for Hanscom Field, Carlisle has proportionately more air traffic than the Wyoming wilderness.

For all this, Carlisle’s reputation for relative quiet is deserved. This is a place where you can hear the sounds and rhythms of the natural world, and an earlier human era. Even if you do not walk the woods and fields, if you simply turn off your television, radio and iPod, open the windows of the house or car, and listen, the sounds and rhythms are there.

The depth of the year comes round early each January. The world is as still then as it ever is. Yet even then, in the stillness, there is the granular hiss of the snow fall, the keen of the wind in the pines, the crack of the ice expanding and contracting on the river and bog ponds, and, in the deep night, the distant bell from the FRS steeple tolling the hours. By February, the mating barred owls call to each other in the night: “who cooks for you? who cooks for you-aaallll?” Then, suddenly, with the first warm rain in late March or early April, a joyful noise is heard in the land: the choir of spring peepers from the vernal pools and headwaters. From there the chorus rapidly swells: the dawn birdsong, the tree frogs calling, the racket of deer in the wooded corridors between houses, the nightly conversations of the coyote packs, the morning hum of lawnmowers, the Carlisle Public School band marching on Memorial Day, the sirens from the fire trucks bringing up the end of the Old Home Day parade, the crack of thunder in a summer storm.

Again, suddenly, there comes a morning in late July when you notice the birds are still singing on WGBH, but not outside. From this time on the crickets take over; almost deafening in the warm, humid evenings of August and early September, sporadic, almost mournful, in the increasingly crisp air of late September and October; and then, after a hard frost, gone. As the screens give way to storm windows and life moves indoors, other sounds reappear: the furnace kicking on, the driving rain on the roof from the first nor’easter of the season, the World Series and football on TV, followed by Christmas music.

The sounds of spring came late this year, as a hard winter lingered. But we are at last in the full-throated roar of life in May. Tune in. No charge for downloads.

 

 

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