Early in the morning, a team of friends were moving through the Berkshires. They were carrying baskets of bright, fragile eggs, painted by hand. And they were setting them out for people to find. It turns out the Berkshires has an stealth artist who creates gifts and leaves them quietly in public places. Imagine coming to a park bench or the wet rock on a lake shore and finding a tiny, brilliant object painted with dragons.
They usually come to Stockbridge on Easter morning, and the artist calls themselves the Guerilla Bunny — but this year Covid-19 intervened, and so the eggs came to the Southern Berkshires on the first day of summer. The artist seems to have brought in allies to help them cover 13 towns in one day. They posted photos as friends headed down back roads in the early morning with a basket of eggs wrapped in cloth, maybe set on the seat of a truck.
I can imagine them leaving in the dark and walking quietly while the morning was still cool. They might pull over on a main street with no shoulder to walk quietly through a town center 100 feet long. They might find a worn trail down to the water. They would hold a blown egg gently and set it down carefully, with no one looking.
I don’t know where they were going. But I knew they were coming. I heard a few weeks ago (it’s one of the gifts of this job that stories like this sift my way), and since I live on the far end of the county, I thought, why not take up the invitation — not to interfere in anyone else’s discovery, but to ramble around and keep an eye open. How often can you welcome the summer with a treasure hunt?
So on Sunday morning, I woke early and made coffee and headed south. I set myself a few easy rules — I’d go to places I have wanted to see for years, or had seen years ago and wanted to see again. I’d make a plan and veer freely. And when anything caught my eye on the way, I’d stop and come close to see it.
So I found … a railway underpass painted with murals, and a block of marble on an old wooden cart. Three neighborhoods where W.E.B. DuBois lived as a boy and likely walked on summer mornings, or sat on a porch to debate new books and current events. A path between massive pine trees, steeped in light and birdsong. A labyrinth hiding in plain sight. A garden that holds memories almost 400 years old. Blue dragonflies iridescent over tall grass.
Near the end of the afternoon, I walked through the Stockbridge cemetery to find Elizabeth Freeman’s resting place. And at her feet, someone had left her a Juneteenth note of love and respect. I knelt there for awhile, feeling thankful. I didn’t want to interfere with a private tribute, and I don’t want to now, but I honor it, and I’m thankful to live in a place where someone creates something strong and bright and honest and sets it somewhere quietly as a gift, and I can see it when I come by.