Weathergrams at Hogback Mountain
by Carol Berner

 

Mountains, dragonflies, owls and the color green were among topics that inspired writers ages 5 to 85 who created Weathergrams at an open house hosted by the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum in Marlboro, VT.  Working at a picnic table overlooking the 100-mile view from the Hogback Mountain observation deck, children and adults wrote nature-inspired messages to hang from a nearby apple tree.  They wonder how nature will “write” back to them with rain, wind, maybe even snow and ice:  they plan to visit the tree in three months to find out.

poem

“What’s a weathergram?” was everyone’s first question.  It’s a brief message — fewer than 10 words — written on a slip of brown paper hung outdoors to “weather” in the elements. Weathergrams were invented by Lloyd Reynolds, a professor of English and Art at Reed College and a master calligrapher. He was inspired by haiku, tanka, Shinto prayer slips, and finding a fun way for students to practice calligraphy. As he explains in his directions, a weathergram (aka weather-writing) communicates the “here and now,” the “unexpected,” and the “moment of vision” experienced in nature. Nature “writes back” by weathering the brown paper, leaving intact only the red and black letters printed in indelible ink.

 

 

rsz_jack_&_ray

“I see an owl that ses hoo cooks for you.”
by Rae, Age 6, visiting from Denver, CO

Trees

are

plentiful

and 

beautiful

written by senior visiting from Wilmington

 

 

 

 

Willie, a 7th Grader who spends a lot of time at Hogback, focused intently on writing a Weathergram as soon as I showed him some examples. “I have an idea,” he told me, and bent over the slip of paper until he was finished.  He carefully traced over the pencil letters with red and black indelible marker, then scouted around for just the right place to hang his message.

rsz_1boy_writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rsz_2_boy_hangingimg_1904

rsz_3_boy_weathergram (1)

 

 

Wind


Whips
Through
The Air
As The
Trees
Sway To
The Beat.  

by Willie, Grade 7

 

 

When we looked down from the observation deck at the apple tree newly decorated with Weathergrams, the letter-writing exchange with nature had already begun.  Just like the trees in Willie’s poem, the little slips of paper were swaying in the late June breeze.

rsz_tree_with_weathergrams

Many thanks to Irene O’Garden and the Hudson Highlands Regional River of Words Program for introducing me to Weathergrams.

To find out more about Weathergrams, check out these links:

How to Make a Weathergram

Weathergrams

Weathergrams — Reed College

 

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