We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder — #Berkshireweekend

A silvery stag’s antlers spindle into twigs and put out leaves, and I wonder what shapes the patterns in a living deer’s rack, or in the forking of a branch … or a lightening bolt. I’d been driving south through a thunderstorm, and now the sun was glinting through, so I took a walk in Edith Wharton’s gardens to look for new sculpture.

This summer’s artists have set up their work in the annual SculptureNow show, and the woods and pathways at the Mount are free to walk any time from dawn to dusk, for everyone. Tonight after the rain I had them to myself.

Walking through alone in the late light felt like a look behind the scenes. Kneeling in a serpentine of irises, eye to eye with a tortoise made of metal scraps, I feel as though I’ve come as a guest to walk across her lawn after a summer evening. And I’m thinking that in her writing, and in her house, the times I find most powerful are often the moments that break out of formality — shed their skin.

A small figure jumps onto a larger one's back in Joy Brown's metal sculpture One leaning on another at the Mount.
Photo by Kate Abbott

A small figure jumps onto a larger one's back in Joy Brown's metal sculpture One leaning on another at the Mount.

It’s like seeing notes she has written in the margins of her books, or reading A Backward Glance on the terrace and feeling her slip out of her carefully controlled memoir voice when she talks about the courage to become a writer, the deep pleasure of conversation, and her lifelong friendship with Walter Berry

Here the tree peonies are shining with rain. Irises are growing wild in the stream down to the beaver pond, and on blue petals the white and gold markings fan out in a triptych. Bronze figures have drops beading their foreheads, and robin sits on the lid of a ceramic vessel taller than I am.

The fountain in the Italian garden falls in helixes, and the work that draws me holds a kind of living energy. The stag has leaves inside his ribs as his vital organs. And why is the white rose gown on the pathway filled with leaves but not with a visible body? I want to see the face of the green woman who wears it when she walks in the ostrich ferns.

Sunlight gleams on Edith Wharton's window at the Mount under a storym sky.
Photo by Kate Abbott

Sunlight gleams on Edith Wharton's window at the Mount under a storym sky.

Wendy Klember's gleaming bronze turkey forages in Edith Wharton's open woodland at the Mount.
Wendy Klember

Wendy Klember's gleaming bronze turkey forages in Edith Wharton's open woodland at the Mount.

Events coming up …

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

Orange and gold tulips bloom at the annual Daffodil and Tulip Festival at Naumkeag in Stockbridge.
Apr 21 2024 @ 10:00 am
Naumkeag's annual Spring Celebration returns for its 5th year, as the eight acres of gardens bloom with bulbs to celebrate spring in the Berkshires.
Young lambs curl up together at Hancock Shaker Village.
Apr 21 2024 @ 10:30 am
Celebrate the arrival of spring with the village's merino sheep as they get their annual haircuts in a woollyweekend of family fun with all the baby animals.
A boy and a lamb walk by the pasture at Hancock Shaker Village.
Apr 21 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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