Berkshire naturalist Thom Smith strolls through the Mount’s grounds and gardens.
As the summer season wanes, outdoor sculpture in leaf season takes on a new light, and The Mount in Lenox continues to draw people in even before they reach the mansion. Take a relaxing stroll along one of the Berkshires’ loveliest of driveways toward what once was the Gilded Age home of the novelist Edith Wharton, and the grounds and gardens remain as she imagined them, a verdant green dotted with colorful flowers, with subtle additions of golds, browns, and reds as they progress toward closing for the season on October 31.
Moss-covered boulders and the canopy of mature trees are highlighted along the walk by sculptures of stone, including granite, various metals, wood, clay, paper, glass, pigments of course, foam and fiberglass.
Not being an art critic, I can only comment on what I like, and in this case, it is nearly impossible to choose one that I did not like; I enjoyed viewing enough to visit twice. Among my favorites, Parallel Migration by Anne Dushanko Dobek gathers hundreds of monarch butterflies, mostly realistic renderings with a liberal dose of artistic freedom.
They appear on a wooded path where they congregate, some in small numbers, on trees along a trail marked “Ledge Walk.” More monarchs show in groups of thirty or more, sometimes fewer, and some of several hundred. Along the path, a wicker bench has about 150 butterflies resting on the front alone, while nearby a group of thirty spiral upwards around a beach tree. The most impressive gathering is the largest number yet, on a tall tree that may once have been grazed by lightning or damaged in its youth. Parallel Migration, for the Dobek, brings to the surface “the perilous journey of migration and immigration for both people and insects.”
Continuing in no special order, my eye caught color that from a distance reminded me of a bouquet of flowers in yellow, violet, red and green. When I was close to read the title, Askew, I found it the work of Pittsfield artist Bill Tobin, brother of one of my closest friends as a child — F. X., a gifted professional artist who passed away in 2014. This passionate sculpture of welded steel and pigment is an eye-catcher.
Foam, fiberglass and pigment come together in Michelle Post’s Tronies, three sculptures quite different although much the same, and I attempted to see what they were seeing with no luck.
I found others with names like Obsolete Oil Can by Peter Dellert of Holyoke, a whimsical shape with its can fashioned out of vines, and Upstream by Holyoke’s Mark Attebery, reflecting the golden sunshine as it flows along its course of pleasantly convoluted copper tubing. The whole SculptureNow show includes some 30 sculptures … and next season I may share a look at the gardens or inside the house.
Outdoor activities also explore the Mount in the fall, including:
A morning bird walk on Sept. 25 finishes Mass Audubon’s first season of birding at the Mount.Walk these natural wooded paths and the open gardens and groomed lawns to hear and see a variety of wild songbirds — in season, bobolinks in the meadows, vireos singing on the hottest days, and warblers, sparrows, tanagers and more. Birds are still plentiful enough in the late summer and fall, although much quieter, and learning their fall plumages will add a feather to your cap. One trip is moderate, and the other Intermediate, a vigorously paced walk down to Edith Wharton Park and Laurel Lake. Call 413-551-5100 for information.
Berkshire Coaching at the Mount: Relive the Gilded Age and see historic and meticulously restored horse-drawn coaches as they arrive through the main gates of The Mount. A presentation of the coaches will follow the procession. The event is free and open to all; for morel information about Berkshire Coaching Weekend, visit BerkshireCoachingWeekend.com.
Artist-guided Sculpture Walk: The Mount, in partnership with SculptureNow will offer a free 90-minute artist-guided tour of this world-class sculpture show on Oct. 14 at 1:30 pm. The tour includes access to The Mount’s grounds, Café and Bookstore only, rain or shine.