Here be dragons … real ones #berkshireweekend

I met a dragon in the ruins at Ashintully. A live one — really. She’s a bearded dragon named Phoebe, and she came up with a young couple exploring the hills … It’s enough to make you feel like myths are alive.

You could say this is a natural place for them, up here in the ruins. They’re young ruins though. Ashintully is the foundation of a Gilded Age house, now a Trustees land trust property and gardens in Tyringham.

Looking at the line of columns against the sky, I think of Double Edge Theatre’s performance of the Bacchae. They’re re-imagining Euripides’ ancient Greek play, and this place looks made for a stage now — imagine sunset and moonrise up here in the meadow. Children would turn it into a fairy mound or a labyrinth.

I like it this way, as stone foundations open to the sky. It reminds me of old barn cellars, the kind old enough to be lined with stone and buttressed with sills that still hold the shapes of trees, with stone steps that still show the channels from the stone drills that split them with natural winter and ice.

If Double Edge’s Bacchae came dancing in the hills, I think they’d come to the meadow. They tell their own stories and sing their own music and feel the earth under their feet, like the artists in the Clark Art Institute’s midsummer show. The old myths that live here … they may have a heartbeat in the people who live here, the people who have lived here for thousands of years, the dragonflies in the marsh at the foot of the hill …

A daisy blooms wild on the ridge at Ashintully in Tyringham.
Photo by Kate Abbott

A daisy blooms wild on the ridge at Ashintully in Tyringham.

Outdoor events coming up …

Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.

A boy and a lamb walk by the pasture at Hancock Shaker Village.
Apr 17 2024 @ 11:00 am
Hancock Shaker Village welcomes visitors to meet their newest farm babies – lambs, piglets, calves, chicks and kid goats, and enjoy events and activities throughout the Village.
A local exhibit of poems celebrate the Hoosic River on the suspension bridge at Tourists Welcome in North Adams.
Apr 17 2024 @ 6:00 pm
The Hoosic River Watershed Association invites everyone in the communities along the river to celebrate the waterway and write haiku inspired by the river and its surroundings.
A boy and a lamb walk by the pasture at Hancock Shaker Village.
Apr 18 2024 @ 11:00 am
Hancock Shaker Village welcomes visitors to meet their newest farm babies – lambs, piglets, calves, chicks and kid goats, and enjoy events and activities throughout the Village.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

If you’d like to see the website grow, you can join me for a few dollars a month, enough for a cup of coffee and a cider doughnut. Members get access to extra stories and multimedia, itineraries a bookmark tool. Let me know what you're looking for, and we’ll explore together.

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