By Place

Thompson Chapel at Williams College shines a warm light on a snowy night. Photo by Kate Abbott

Berkshire holiday music warms midwinter BTW

Winds in the reeds lift a clear tone in longing for home — a heartbeat Last year, on a snowy day, we heard a solo harp. Students sang a medieval carol and a modern one by Richard Wilbur, our former poet Laureate and former Berkshire voice in the hills, and Rick Spaulding talked gently, sadly,…

Fresh snow piles and hemlock trees on a December morning at The Boulders in Dalton. Photo by Thom Smith

The friendly hemlock — East coast evergreen

Berkshire Naturalist Thom Smith finds color in the winter woods. Never confuse this evergreen with a Christmas Tree — regardless of the name, it will be a happier tree outside than inside, as its needles fall upon drying out. It’s a common tree in cool woods with moist soil throughout New England, and north well into Canada,…

Three in One Afternoon — BNRC Lenox hikes

Berkshire Naturalist Thom Smith takes a fall walk in the hills over Lenox. Since 1967 Berkshire Natural Resource Council (BNCR) has worked alongside many Berkshire landowners to open land to everyone and keep it natural through preservation. As the lands they protect continue to grow, it is sometimes hard to become familiar with all of…

Farms and fields — Walks in Williamstown

Thom Smith, a naturalist in the Berkshires, takes a gentle walk in the Williamstown hills. Field Farm, Cricket Creek Farm, Stone Hill, Mountain Meadow Preserve and Sheep Hill — slopes and gentle trails lie just up the road from The Clark, Williams College and the Williamstown Theater Festival. And many visitors and locals alike may…

Ecophilia in the winter garden

Flat stepping stones hang in the air. A small boy sits in the shadow of vast objects above him. The image looks impossible, out of scale, and out of gravity. And then the perspective shifts into place, and the image is a reflection — the stones sit at the edge of the lake, and the…

BTW Harvest festivals and artists fill the hills

Last time I saw the fairgrounds, two glass-blowers were shaping a pumpkin on a metal rod and pulling the molten glass like taffy to give it a stem. A fiber artist brought panels as large as oil paintings in silken thread, and my parents found a table of wooden books — boxes carved like grimoires…

Hawaiian past and present at Williams College

A young man is singing in a low and carrying voice. He holds long phrases on a breath. He is chanting a Hawaiian oli, and the words are his. Nālamakū Ahsing is a Williams student, class of ’21, and he wrote these verses calling to the people who came before him to speak. He opens…