Spring wildflowers and baby animals emerge — #Berkshireweekend

The bloodroot are back. I just went down to one of the closest places I know to look for them, out on the trail along the western bank of the Hoosic River, where the huge old maple trees lean over the water.

They’re just coming up today — their petals are still furled upward, and each single leaf curls around a stem. In the early evening, the light slants down under the tree branches and fills them up as though the petals are cupping it.

They’re always one of the earliest native wildflowers to appear, and even without this unusually warm bright day they would be telling me spring is real. They draw me out to kneel in the sandy duff and come close enough to see the striations on the petals — without touching, because they come into the sunlight only for a few days a year.

Barely a day ago I was on a plane back from my sister’s family on the other coast, and I was reading Ross Gay’s Book of Delights (I found the book out there, and it took me back to the spring night when first heard him read his poems aloud and tell stories here, up the road at Bennington College.)

He writes about immediate daily connections and their transforming power in hard times. He touches and tastes and moves through the world … sometimes, in a way, like my nephew and niece, who are four and almost-two — the way they will stop to look intently at a flower as though they have never seen it before — and instinctively want to carry it home as a gift.

In his hands I feel, as he says, “the actual magic writing is, which comes from our bodies, which we actually think with, quiet as it’s kept …” — and when I look up, I’m carrying his way of seeing for awhile, showing me the actual magic of an ephemeral wildflower on the first warm day after the equinox.

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.
Wildflowers bloom on Stone Hill with the Clark Art Institute in the distance. Press photo courtesy of the museum
Apr 17 2024 @ 1:00 pm
Celebrate spring and Earth Day at the Clark with an art-making activity that incorporates indigenous pollinator seeds that you can take home and plant.
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.

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.

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