Finding Joy: Visiting Art on the Trails With Children

Abby Carlson looking at Avalonia by Crystal Blanchflower

One day last week, parts of Metrowest saw sudden torrential downpours. The rain was blinding, especially if you were driving as I was. It’s times like these that I worry about the installations at Beals Preserve. While they have been built with all weather conditions in mind, I still worry.

So, the next day, Lucy and I went to check on the installations. The first thing I noticed was the trail leading from the Red Gate Lane entrance was washed bare of leaves and pine needles. It was washed bare of pretty much everything that wasn’t embedded in the soil.
As I approached the first installation, I saw that the Tree Wrap by Hadley Horner was perfectly intact. It has been growing every week, when new visitors come and contribute their own yarn wrapping. I moved on and looked at each installation carefully. Everything was in perfect condition. I enjoyed seeing that milk weed has grown up around Greg Barry’s Heartwood pedestal, which makes the sculpture appear to be planted there as he had hoped. I also noticed that the trail maps have been depleted in both trail map holders, which tells me that we have had a lot of visitors.
Abby, Elly, and Lucy running through the woods.

Later in the week, I gave a tour to Southborough resident Kristen Carlson and her two daughters, Abby, age 4 and Elly, age 2. Once I explained that each installation has a sign marking its location, the girls ran from one to the next, like they were on a magical scavenger hunt. Their excitement and joy made my day.

Isaac working on his own Tree Wrap project.



A few weeks earlier, another visitor from Southborough, Marion Ross, brought her 6 year old grandson Isaac to Tree Wrap. He told her, “I had so much fun making it so I think people will like looking at it.”

I will be offering tours to all sorts of groups this summer and invite anyone interested to join me.

1 thought on “Finding Joy: Visiting Art on the Trails With Children”

  • I would love to go on one of your tours. Would you send me information regarding the times?
    Thank you!

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