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.

Berkshire sculptor Robin Tost's Spirit Bear honors the relatives of the black bears who live in the Berkshires.
May 19 2024 @ 9:00 am
The annual celebration of local creativity returns with more than 100 hands-on or behind-the-scenes events and open studios across the region, from May 17 to 27.
Claude Monet, The Geese, 1874, oil on canvas. Clark Art Institute
May 19 2024 @ 11:15 am
A Clark educator leads a thematic tour of highlights of the Clark’s Impressionist art collection by artists like Renoir, Monet, Pissarro and Cassa.
Bicycles head uphill in the Josh Billings Runaground on a sunny day in September. Photo courtesy of Patty Spector
May 19 2024 @ 2:00 pm
Amy Herzog’s acclaimed play offers a compelling exploration of human connections, grief and the unanticipated paths to solace.

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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