December 03 2020 Edition
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By the Way
Spring Street was alive on Saturday. Students were sitting outside Tunnel City in the unexpectedly warm weather and along the wall in the park outside the Williams Inn. I could feel a lift and an energy for the first time in ... I don't know how long. Months.

The news had just come in. I was sitting on a fallen tree by the Hoosic River when a friend texted me to tell me they'd finally called the election. It's a worn old bole, almost waist high, made for lying on your back and looking at the leaves, and I often come there on long days to listen to the water. The last maples had finally turned golden.

By the time I got downtown, the word had spread. I walked up the block listening to excited voices. A new sign next door to the chamber of commerce stopped me to stand in the sun: The Stockbridge-Munsee Community, the Mohican Nation, have opened an office in the heart of town, here where they lived for centuries. They have always come back to the Berkshires.

Seeing their flag here on this afternoon, knowing how a deep and painful history they have with Williams, I wanted to believe in new and honest partnerships. The Mohican people left Stockbridge when European colonists had seized the last holdings of their homeland — and one of the families that seized most avidly was the Williams family. I'm an alum, and the college has been a powerful place for me, and I stood there on the porch feeling sad and hopeful, and wondering.

The street seemed full of voices. I wandered into the second-hand bookstore wondering how long it had been since I had walked casually downtown and into a shop. A few blocks away, on a side road, local artists were holding an informal holiday market on a local family's lawn with cards and dyed cloth and pottery with shimmering glazes.

On the way home, I happened on a story walk between Park and Main streets. Jacqueline Woodson's The Day You Begin is set out in colorful pages along the sidewalk. I walked back to the opening and followed the story around the corner and up the path.

'Rigoberto. From Venuzuela, your teacher says so soft and beautifully that your name and homeland sound like flowers blooming the first bright notes of a song. ...'

As I came to the final words, people were talking nearby at a picnic table, and I heard a familiar voice. One of the fulbright TAs from a class I audited last year was laughing, saying a casual hello. He is a friendly and generous teacher and infinitely patient, and I hadn't known he was here this fall.

We talked a moment. He tested me gently on my memory — he has been helping me to learn a new language, and I speak it about as well as my two-year-old nephew speaks English, in two-word sentences (except that my nephew knows many more words.) I have only begun to know the roots of words and the layers of meaning reflecting through one another. So we had a conversation something like this ...

Hello! How are you? I'm happy today. Because? Because ... I can't remember the word for ... leader? Because of the new president.Yes. I'm glad to see you.

So I got to share joy in Arabic. Speaking simply, humbly, laughing, as ordinary an open as a picnic. And on that day, to see him and know that he and his family are here and well was a quiet magic. — By the Way Berkshires

Stories

Ivy Rodriguez joins a broad Berkshire network of professionals in the Dulye Leadership Experience.

Dulye Leadership Experience builds local economy

The Dulye Leadership Experience has moved to the Berkshires, bringing a network that reaches around the world, and young professionals talk with me about the skills and careers and community they are building.

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Members of Sojourn Theatre's ensemble cast look up at TV monitors of political ads as they pre-set on the stage for the interactive play 'The Race' at Georgetown University's Gonda Theatre in Washington.

‘The Race 2020’- Play reflects on presidential power

MCLA presents 'The Race 2020' — an interactive show by Sojourn Theater that brings the audience into a broad conversation on the election and the nature of leadership.

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Events

La Verna 2H

Berkshire Earth Expo 2020

Through November 14 — film screening Saturday

The annual meeting place to learn about climate, energy and conservation, to celebrate nature’s beauty and to inspire each other through care, returns online.

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AIM company dancers perform An Untitled Love.

Inside the Pillow Lab: A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham

November 12 at 7 p.m.

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival welcomes Kyle Abraham and his company, A.I.M, to build two new works during their fall residency. Abraham and his company will present their work in a short film.

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Devante Owens, right, appears in 'Kernel of Sanity.' Press photo courtesy of Shakespeare & Company.

Play reading series: Kernel of Sanity

November 12 to 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Shakespeare & Company presents 'Kernel of Sanity' by Kermit Frazier November 12 to 15 as part of their new fall series of play readings.

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Winterberry turns red in the cold months.

Rooted in Place ecological gardening online

November 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Berkshire Botanical Garden will present their annual Rooted in Place symposium virtually — Welcoming Wildlife and Diversity Into Our Landscapes.

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Irina Muresanu on violin will perform with Close Encounters with Music. Press image courtesy of CEWM.

Close Encounters with Music: French connection

November 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Close Encounters with Music will stream the French Connection, an evening of Saint Saëns, Debussy, Fauré and Boulanger in collaboration with the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center.

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Online Poetry: Steven Leyva

Online Poetry: Steven Leyva

November 18 at 1 p.m.

Online Poetry: Medicine for the Soul welcomes acclaimed poet, essayist and professor Steven Leyva to read and talk about his work.

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