December 23 2020 Edition
View this email in your browser »
By the Way
Holidays are here. We're on the eve of evergreen and firelight, when many of us (in the Northern half of the globe) take a deep breath at the beginning of winter.

A lot of us need the rest, right now. This is a year when things that once seemed simple have become rare.

Last weekend I sat on a bench in the snow at Berkshire Theatre Group, watching an outdoor performance set in the Depression. An eight-year-old boy and a cousin who was mother and grandmother to him were saving pennies all year so that on one winter day they could make fruit cakes.

She knew the woods near the pastures around them. They took all day to hike in, to cut a tree and carry it across three creeks and haul it home in an old pram. They made each other kites and waded through the grass in the field so they could fly them, "feel them twitching at the string like sky fish as they swim into the wind." And she had never been more than five miles from home.

It's a story about making and finding and seeing what you have close by. Five people could get up on a wooden platform with a weathered barn for a backdrop, and we had a play, with little more set than a sewing basket and a knitted blanket. The actors and the audience all kept a careful physical distance. The energy between them was tangible in the air.

This year I keep re-learning how deep and complex simple things can be. I can walk out my front door without feeling afraid. My closest family are well. I live in a place where I can take a long walk in the woods — up White Oak Road maybe, up the old wood road past the trail heads in Mountain Meadow and around by East Mountain Farm, where the Herefords are out in the snow, burly brown cattle with white foreheads.

Even in a pandemic, I'm learning, people want to talk, and walk uphill in the snow until they're too warm for a jacket, and stand in the dark and watch planets converge.

Thank you all for talking with me. And listening. The year is turning, and every day now will hold a little more light. To all of us, Happy Hanukkah and happy Solstice, merry Christmas, joyful Kwanzaa, warmth in the winter — and hope for the New Year. By the Way Berkshires

Stories

In Trinh Mai's diptych 'When We Became Trees,' a husband and wife find quiet in a garden in Southern California.

Unison stronger than fission: Poetry and art hold a light

Artist Trinh Mai and poet Shann Ray probe a world where the beauty of high canyons and loving relationships can exist even in hard, divided times.

Read more »
A cross country skier in a spruce forest at the Notchview Reservation in Windsor. Courtesy of The Trustees of Reservations.

Snowshoe and cross country ski trails

The winter woods can be quiet and beautiful in the snow, and we have trails to walk or snowshoe or ski. On the ridges some trails are groomed for skiers.

Read more »

Events

Cape Breton fiddlers Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy present a Celtic Family Christmas.

A Celtic Family Christmas at Home

Through December 31 at 11 a.m.

This holiday season, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy — world-reknowned Cape Breton fiddlers — and their family are inviting the world to their home.

Read more »
Ventfort Hall hangs stockings by the chimney. Photo by Susan Geller

A Christmas Carol with Gerald Charles Dickens

Through December 31

Ventfort Hall will present Gerald Dickens, the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens, reading the classic story of A Christmas Carol as a livestream through December 31.

Read more »
Young musicians hang out with Bang on a Can Mark Stewart and the fellows (with their very own created instruments).

Kidspace Artbar for the holidays

December 28 to January 1

Kidspace is releasing virtual ArtBar Specials each day. Ring in the new year while making new art projects (and revisiting one old favorite).

Read more »
Hand-carved wooden flutes rest side by side. Creative Commons cuortesy photo

A Comet Is Seen: Igor Stravinsky's early ballet music

December 29 at 5:30 p.m. (online)

Composer Erik Nielsen will lead a virtual conversation on Igor Stravinsky’s groundbreaking works, from the Firebird to the Rite of Spring, and the ways they excite listeners today.

Read more »
Snowflakes gleam at Winterlights at Naumkeag.

Winterlights at Naumkeag extended

Extended through January 17

Winterlights is back at Naumkeag, a bright outdoor experience as the gardens sparkle with thousands of shimmering and artfully designed holiday lights.

Read more »
BTW Logo
facebook instagram twitter website 
BTW Berkshires LLC
P.O. Box 534
Williamstown, MA 01267