Art Abandonment, Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls

Pick Me Up!

That’s what it said on the piece of paper Hank found in a small plastic bag tucked between the slats of a wooden bench. He was enjoying a coffee he had bought and sitting at a favorite spot near the Bridge of Flowers in our village when he discovered the bag. But wait, there’s more: a pair of earrings was inside.

As the photo above shows, the earrings have a translucent glass bead and a flat tear-drop with gold leaf bits encased in a clear resin.

The message goes on: “(hurry before someone else does.) This handmade gift has been left here with the hope that it brings you joy. Keep it, pass it on, or leave it for someone else to find.”

Hank brought it home to me.

I was charmed by the gift and the story of how he found the little treasure when he placed his hand on the bench. Then, I tried them on. Yes, I felt joy wearing them.

But there’s more. A second note gives information about Art Abandonment, a group of artists “who leave their creations in random locations across the globe for others to find and enjoy.” It has a link to Facebook.

The discovery makes me wonder who left the earrings. The Bridge of Flowers is a big attraction in Shelburne Falls, the village where we live, so it could have been a visitor or someone local.

The concrete bridge with its graceful arches was built over the Deerfield River in 1908 by a railway to handle freight. But the company went bankrupt nine years later after trucking became more popular.

Fortunately, Antoinette Burnham suggested transforming the 400-foot bridge into a garden — two long rows of flowering plants and shrubs separated by a wide footpath. The Shelburne Falls Women’s Club sponsor the Bridge of Flowers, which celebrated its 90th year in 2019. 

Volunteers assist two gardeners in maintaining the bridge, which draws thousands of people to our village when it is open from April 1 to Oct. 31. It’s free to enter but donations are welcome. Here’s the website for more, including what is in bloom. 

By the way, I walk it every day. So does Hank. We’re often together although not that time.

But back to those earrings. I’ve worn them every day since their discovery — using a plastic backing so I don’t lose them while wearing a mask or working outside. They have indeed brought me joy, so thank you to the anonymous creator and donor.

By the way, I have met several people who have remarked about the earrings. I typically smile and tell them, “There’s a story behind them.” And, yes, they want to hear all about it.

MY BOOKS: Writing is something else that brings me joy. I am three-quarters of the way through no. 6 of my Isabel Long Mystery Series. You can check them out on Amazon. Thank you, if you do.

COVID-19, Shelburne Falls

My Very Quiet Village

When Hank and I returned to New England, we wanted to live in the country but be able to walk to things. That’s what we got when we moved to Shelburne Falls in Western Mass. We live on the Buckland side and it’s a short walk, oh, less than a half-mile, to a coffee shop, restaurants, small shops, a candlepin bowling alley, and our son, Zack’s Floodwater Brewing. You get to know the people living here very easily. And then there is the bustle of visitors who want to take in the quaint village, and in season, our famous Bridge of Flowers, and the potholes on the Deerfield River.

Ah, but all of that is on hold while we get through this COVID-19 health crisis.

Hank and I walked down to the village Saturday. Businesses had signs on their doors explaining why they were closed. The governor issued an order last week that only allows restaurants to do takeout; bars were closed. The village’s two markets, McCusker’s (part of the Franklin Community Co-op) and Keystone (owned by a family) were open, as well as the liquor store. So was Mocha Maya’s coffee shop, for takeout only.

And then our clever son, Zack was set up at the door of his brewery. He had scored bottles that he filled with the beer he makes. People could place an order on their phones and he would have the bottles, the outside sanitized, ready for them to take. By the way, he was donating $2 from each bottle sold to a local education foundation.

Zack said his experiment turned out very well. (I believe sometime this week his order of growlers should be in.) We were there when a woman said she was driving by and saw his setup and had to stop. She place her order standing on the sidewalk. Another man pulled in as we were leaving. While these sales can’t make up for a bustling, music-filled weekend at the brewery, I admire our son’s ingenuity.

Sunday I stuck to home. It was just too cold to venture into the woods, my hope that morning. So, I got back into my new book. I now know whodunnit and it’s up to Isabel to find out. But first I have to put her in some danger.

Today I am back in the newsroom. We are an essential business, providing news, which we are even making available for free on our website:

We are quite isolated there, as no one has been allowed in the building for a week now. It’s just a small crew; the rest are working from home. That is an option for all of us, but for now this works.

FREE WEEKEND: Thanks to all who got a free copy of Chasing the Case this past weekend. It was a hugely successful experiment. Not only were people getting a free copy, they were buying the two other books in the series … and a book I self-published.