Joyful holidays from all across the Berkshires — #berkshireweekend

We were talking about music and finding beauty even when it isn’t easy. On the solstice a friend came with me to look for holiday gifts, and somewhere between Belltower Records in the Norad Mill and the Bear and Bee Bookshop we were talking about languages and translations, and the layers of meaning you may only hear when you know the original words.

And gifts can come in many forms. I told him about a poem I had tried to make my way through in French, a poem written by a free Black poet in New Orleans in 1845, and the sense of exile, the weight of living in a world that tries to deny your existence. And he recognized connections to psalms and the courage to sing.

This week has given me that kind of light and rediscovery. An old friend played her guitar around a Hanukkah bonfire, and a new friend helped me write down a melody I’d been haltingly trying to finger on an old tenor recorder. A highland cow lay napping in her winter pasture, and the farmer told me how his farm holds cycles of life.

Last night I was coming up Route 7 by Green River Farm, and a silver-grey shape flashed across the road ahead, lean and large as a big dog. Was a coy wolf slipping through the shadows down the hill from the five corners? Up the hill, the women in the sculpture in the fields stood looking out under the stars of the mother bear.

Wherever you are in this week, whatever holidays you celebrate and however you walk through the world in these winter days, may they bring us all connection for the new year!

Holiday lights

Bright flairs fill the night this week, from LumiNAMA displays in North Adams to Winterlights at Naumkeag and Nightwood at the Mount — and winter color shows at Windy Hill Farm in Great Barrington and in the native plant garden at the Bennington Museum.

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.

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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