Is this old water oak tree on a trail we frequent a signal or marker tree, made by Native Americans and used as a navigational aid in the forests? By bending a young sapling at a right angle to the ground, they altered a tree to serve as a signpost to others, indicating a trail direction or marking a point of interest, such as a natural spring or a safe river crossing.
As the tree matured, it grew back upward toward the light, pointing the way to the desired direction to whomever passed.
We aren’t sure if this tree is a signal tree or not. There are only a few hundred documented examples in the United States and no studies done in our state.
A survivor of hurricanes and loggers, fires and diseases, it is several hundred years old, plenty old enough to have done the job.
I call it the Elephant Tree because of its bark. What do you think? Do you see the elephant leg there?
It’s one of those trees I can’t resist. Don’t tell anyone, but when we pass by, I always stop and give it a hug!
The waxing moon