Annual Open House (August 11th, 2018)

      August 11 began with a welcome drop in temperature that ensured the FWC Open House would be enjoyed. A delicious and generous lunch was enjoyed by all of about 15 people who attended. In addition to the 15 people, there were among us at least 7 dogs who thoroughly enjoyed running about and following scent trails. Over lunch, we visited with each other and shared our experiences of the Friends Wilderness Center. After lunch a group of participants hiked to the Tree House to get a fuller view of the property. In all, it was a welcome day spent in the wilderness and left us feeling refreshed and grounded.   (Write-up provided by Board Member, Ann Stone)
 Four Meeting Picnic and Hike (September 9th, 2018)
Nine Friends from Goose Creek, Hopewell Centre, Frederick and Shepherdstown Meetings joined Sheila Bach at the Niles Cabin for a lovely picnic, fellowship and for the stalwarts shown below, a hike to Raven Rocks.  While the weather was not optimal, all were in high spirits and smiles were in abundance even after puffing up to Raven Rocks (see below).
 Poetry In the Cabin with Tom Donlon (November 11th, 2018)
Tom and five other local poetry lovers met in the Niles Cabin to share poetry, ideas, and images and a wonderful lunch cooked by our own Sheila Bach.  Tom provided an added highlight to his original poems (which drew from a trip to Israel in 2018 and his time doing actual line work for Verizon in Brooklyn, NY) by showing slides from both trips and providing commentary which added rich context to his poetry.  We hope you will join us at the cabin for future poetry events such as the one to be facilitated by Hayden Mathews on Saturday, February 9th, 2019.
Poetry Around The Fire with Hayden Mathews (February 9, 2019)
Nine poetry lovers with several published poets in their midst, gathered at the Niles Cabin for a wonderful day of sharing words, thoughts and impressions.  The words shared ranged from Mary Oliver and Robert Frost to translations of Gilgamesh, thoughts on words from an African scholar, and lyrics from country songs - a truly eclectic and wonderful blend. With the always remarkable cooking from Sheila Bach to power our way into the afternoon, we departed the FWC at the program's end richer, fuller, and wiser for the experience.  All present indicated they would likely be back for the next poetry circle in November.

“ART AND SPIRIT” with Lynn Perlik (April 13, 2019)

 Program Report:  Ann Stone, FWC Board member and program participant

 On a crisp spring morning, eight of us gathered to honor the connection between art and the spirit. Our workshop leader, artist Lynn Perlik introduced us to each other and to her plans for a day of experiencing and expressing the beauty of the natural world around us.  She showed us some drawings she had made the day before to give us an idea of what was in store.  It was a perfect time of year for such an endeavor.  Spring changes were just beginning and we were all eager to enjoy more of the bounty and excitement of the season.  The trees in the mountains were just beginning to come into leaf.  So, it was possible to observe both the elegant structure of the bare limbs of the trees and see the green fuzz around the ends of the branches where they were beginning to come into leaf.  We each made three drawings in three different settings and with different media.  We began in the cabin looking out and capturing on paper the glorious sights around us.  Then, we took a short walk into the woods and drew the hillside on the far side of a busy stream.  Finally, we experimented with ink brush drawing pens for our final drawings.  Copies of two of the drawings are shown.  As we left, we felt refreshed and renewed by our interactions with the wilderness and a profound sense of awe for the bountiful glory of the season.  

 Open House (July 13, 2019)
20 attendees, many from Goose Creek Meeting, came to share food and fellowship and to see FWC's newest addition, the Chinese Folk House (CFH), rise in its forest clearing about 80 yards from the Niles Cabin. John Flower, Asian Studies Teacher at the Sidwell Friends School and the creative force behind the CFH Project, was on site explaining the intricacies of reassembling this extraordinary house which he painstakingly disassembled, labeled, and moved from Western China to Winchester for storage.  The main event for the day is shown below:  the raising, lowering, nudging, fitting and securing in place of a second floor building frame which involved getting four separate points of attachment to match up and then drop into place for final joining.  As you might imagine, three of the four points of connection were almost fitted within the first 30 minutes but getting the third point of attachment to match up and to drop into place required much prying, nudging, chiseling, and 'verbal coaxing' before it was properly in place and secured.  Suffice it to say that all of the attendees were very impressed with the building even in its skeletal form and appetites were whetted for following the construction project into 2020 as the interior work proceeds and the exterior rammed earth walls are erected.  When it is finished the CFH will not only provide the Sidwell Friends Community with a remarkable new teaching and cultural immersion asset but the FWC with an added space in which to conduct programs and many new visitors who will be coming to see and use the CFH.  Check back on this website to track progress on this remarkable building.  The following are four pictures of the house as it looked on July 13th:
A view of the forest clearing with the house going up on the left and the entry gate to the right.
A view of the main house frame before the addition of the third frame (see below).  The entry gate is to the right with the first rammed earth wall rising to the left of the gate proper. 
A close up view of the entry gate with its rammed earth wall to the left. 
A frame for the second floor is lifted by the portable crane and gently lowered as the assembly crew (John Flower is standing at the left) watches it move into position.  The team had to match up four points of contact:  The notches on the bottoms of the three vertical columns needed to slip over timbers that were already in place and the notch in the horizontal member of the frame needed to match up with the top of the tallest vertical post (visible between John Flower and the man to the right).  The large post to the right proved to be the hardest to fit and required over an hour of coaxing before it dropped into place and was secured.

Reflection Hike Report (12/28/19)

By Jonathan Glass, Program Leader

A gathering of 7 young and old Friends took in the scenery and the company of an extended hike on one of those eerily warm clear days in December to reflect on life in 2019 and what may come in 2020.  Participants came from Sandy Spring and Florida Avenue Meetings, including two children from Florida Avenue who added to the zest and enjoyment.  Hikers went out in silence to explore the Tree House and Yurt, and then progressed up Friends Trail and Perimeter Trail for a well-paced, 3-hour outing on the ridges above Niles Cabin.  The company and scenery inspired our conversation and photos two of which are provided below: one of our shoes in circle; and our faces radiating the joy of the day.