Kate Abbott: Summer ahoy!


The lilacs are going by, and the honeysuckle is in bloom. The bobolinks are nesting at Field Farm (says a sign in the meadow. Bobolinks turn out to be black finch-like birds with yellow crests, and they migrate from Argentina.) The weather map is calling for thunderstorms tomorrow, and I believe it -- more easily than I can believe it's June again.

I spend April and May feverishly collecting summer events, building calendars, pencilling in story ideas clear to August, and yet somehow the summer itself sneaks up on me. Even when I'm walking in the park past the new chestnut plantings, when it's still light at 8 p.m. and the air is muggy and sweet, I don't believe the summer is really here.

But this is the magazine every year when we try to get our heads around it. We usually keep our eyes on the week ahead, but in this one issue every year we look across the summer and pick out high points.

How do you choose? We talked to some 200 organizations when we assembled our giant summer calendar (berkshireeagle.com/summerpreviews). In the flow of hundreds of press releases, in the talks and paintings and plays and concerts on the lawn, moth nights and campfires and street festivals, how do we hold onto just a few?

We can only tell you what catches our ears and minds.

We seem to have a summer of modernists coming to the Clark Art Institute, the Williams College Art Museum and the Frelinghuysen Morris House Museum.

I'm looking forward to the Chinese bronzes at the Clark and to the feel of all its new spaces. And I'm curious about Fei Bo's choreography for the Hong Kong Ballet, opening the Jacob's Pillow season. Ella Baff described his "A Room of Her Own" as beautifully precise movement with physical expression, dance that allows a show of emotion, which reminded me of the Taiwanese group LAFA I saw and loved at the Pillow half a dozen years ago.

And I want to sit outside on the lawn on a blood-warm summer night, watching free dance at the Inside/Out stage or listening to acoustic guitar or the Mount's marathon reading of Edith Wharton's "Summer."

I also want to see Egyptian artist Alaa Awad's July show at Gallery 51 as part of Downstreet Art -- and the wind sculpture at the Berkshire Botanical Garden.

Berkshire Fringe Festival will come to my home city, and the Mettawee River Puppets will perform Middle Eastern tales from Pittsfield to North Bennington, includng a night in the park next to my house.

And I'm making myself a promise that I will get out to see things. As Jeff Borak says, you never know ahead of time how something will turn out. If I don't look, I'll never know.

Likely what stops me in my tracks may be something I never would have predicted, like the eight amber-colored Tamworth piglets I met this weekend at Cricket Creek Farm at milking time.


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