Have you ever held a newborn lamb?

It’s 40 degrees and raining, salamander weather, and I’d like to be slopping around in the glorious, raw New England spring. The trees are knobbled with leaf buds and catkins, and the azalea by my front door has opened its first petals in the raw weather.

Not long ago, Bill Mangiardi at Hancock Shaker Village handed me a new lamb. Her wool was dense and still tightly curled, and I held her like a puppy, tucking a hand under her small back feet.

My heart is in greenhouses filled with new seedlings and damp earth, and in the swampy corner of Springside Park watching the silent ascent of a barred owl. But my head is halfway into July. For the next few weeks, I’ll be hip-deep in the summer calendar.

Young lambs circle around their mother in the dairy ell at the annual baby animals festival at Hancock Shaker Village.
Photo by Kate Abbott

Young lambs circle around their mother in the dairy ell at the annual baby animals festival at Hancock Shaker Village.

(And if you’re planning to lead a hike up the Thunderbolt, race your champion piglet, dance with giant puppets or declaim Fear no more the heat of the sun … on North Street while juggling heirloom tomatoes, I’d love to know about it.)

There’s an energy building as we all step tentatively outside again, and I can feel it grow. But today I can look at the spring shows too, the egg and spoon races, the Earth Day circles and the paintings and sketches I haven’t seen in the museums, or haven’t seen long enough.

This is in-between time, mating season and egg-laying, when the birds racket in the mornings and the frogs sing and the hibernators stretch and move out of their damp holes. This is lambing season, and new kid goats and fawns and moose calves are rolling and running in the wet grass.

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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