Quarry Park, Monterey, California


Quarry Park is a short walk from our house. As the name suggests, it’s an old quarry dating back to the 1930s, built to provide stone for the Monterey breakwater. Over the decades, nature has healed this manmade wound in the hills, now overgrown with trees, native shrubs, and poison oak. A trail leads up the narrow canyon, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see deer nibbling at the brush.

The sounds of the city disappear in the deep walls of the canyon. The trail leads to a bowl filled with sixty-foot cottonwoods that wave above you and evoke an undeniable sense of peace and a feeling of another time and place. A stone, the size of a half-buried VW Bug, anchors the backside of the bowl. Several years ago, someone began stacking stones and leaving offerings of flowers and pinecones. Over time this stone has transformed into a community altar.

The canyon holds you in its arms, surrounded by the sound of birds, a whispering breeze, and the smell of plants and earth. I always feel transported, like I’ve entered a chapel. But this one speaks an ancient language, the language of the natural world, and reveals its healing power –– turning a common quarry into a holy place to hold our prayers and dreams.