During the later part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, thousands of sheep were raised in Colorado. The Hispanic sheepherder, away from loved ones for months at a time, expressed his loneliness and boredom on the vast canvas available to him, the soft white bark of the aspen tree.
These carvings are known as arborglyphs, which means literally “tree-writing.”
Visions of home, hearth and missed loved ones adorn thousands of trees all through the forest. Those remaining are dated from the early 1900’s to the 1950’s. Due to the relatively short life span of the aspen (80-120 years), a significant number of carvings are being lost to age, disease, blow down and fire.
While on a horsepack trip into the Weminuche Wilderness in the late 1970s, Peggy Bergon began photographing the arborglyphs, which has lead to a collection of more than 5,000 photographs.
The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist has been displaying works of artists in various media, inspiring us with their beauty. These historical arborglyph photographs show an appreciation of the web of all existence and respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
You are welcome at services held on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. There is child care and activities for youth at the same time. The Fellowship is at Unit B-15, Greenbriar Plaza, just north of the Firestation.
On Sept. 26, Peggy will leadi a walk through the aspen groves sponsored by the Pagosa Ranger District. On this gentle three-mile walk you will see many of the writings and artwork while learning about the early sheep industry in Archuleta County. For more information, or to reserve a spot, call the Forest Service Office at 264-2268.
To learn more about the carvings and photographs, or to contact Peggy, go to arborglyphs.com.