This post is off the normal fiber focused subject......so read on at your own peril!
This is an excerpt from the book "Nightwoods" written by Charles Frazier. You might be aware of his others, "Cold Mountain" & "Thirteen Moons". The books deal with areas in Western North Carolina and Haywood County, where we live. "The husband" has been reading this book and was struck by the following passage. From day one of moving here, we noticed this unusual tree in the common area of our development. The questions are: Could this be natural? If not, who did it? Where does it point?
"Farther on, along a stretch of trail Luce had walked at least a dozen times, she noticed something new to her, A stout old oak partly screened by younger trees, the first four feet of its trunk hollow and the crown nearly dead. What Luce first thought was a low limb, much thicker than her torso, ran parallel to the ground and then made an unnatural upward right angle. At the L, a knob of scar.
Luce went to the tree and cupped her hand on the knob. She realized that the odd limb was really the deformed trunk and knew this was a trail tree. One day two or three hundred years back, in a different world, somebody bent down a sapling and torqued it in the middle and sliced it partway through at the angle and tied it to a stake in the ground with withes or ligaments to make it grow that way forever. When the cut healed, the scar kept growing, like an old mans nose, and it was where the nose pointed that mattered, ‘Go this way’ was the message nobody had received for a long time”
It turns out there are similar trees that run all across this country. A fledgling rhododendron partially obstructs the drama of this tree which grows along side one of the 3 small creeks that run through our development. YET the nose is quite clear right side of horizontal limb).
There are groups that research such trees for authenticity. We've submited this one and are looking forward to hearing their opinion. It doesn't appear to be 100 years old but who knows. Follow these two links here and also here if you'd like to read a tad more about this interesting navigation system most often attributed to Native Americans.