Memories of Scott Nearing

Sometime around 1950, and obviously before Scott and Helen Nearing deserted the Stratton Mountain environs before a repulsive - for them - ski area development, my mother, a former journalist, traipsed over from Landgrove to meet him.

Whether the encounter was announced or not I have no memory; I suspect the latter. I (then 11 years or so of age) was in tow. I recall two episodes.

Mr. Nearing encountered me leaning over a small pool he had made, within which was one “resident” and very large trout. I was dropping pebbles upon the trout.

He admonished me: “Would you like someone dropping boulders on you?”

Chagrined, I deserted the activity. I now wonder how he felt about the containment or captivity of the trout. Maybe it was being saved, by Nearing, from people with lures and sharp hooks - and from being devoured.

Another memory: Somehow, the night before, it seems a porcupine had entered the house - memorable because the main room had, as one long wall, the face of a boulder or bedrock or ledge.

Mr. Nearing recounted how he had spent much of the night coaxing verbally the porcupine to leave the house. No sticks, no physical brandishing - just “reason.”

I now wonder how the porcupine got in. Would this harbinger of the “back to the land” movement in Jamaica, Vermont, have had an “open-door policy”?

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates