Where Trees Have Faces

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Next time granddaughter Abby comes to visit, there will be a surprise waiting for her on a new trail recently created through the Enchanted Woods. It is a trail made solely (well not solely) so that we can pass by this ancient cedar that Ann discovered on a steep hillside we never visited.

She became so fond of this tree she gave it a name (Isabella–why, you’d have to ask her; and she would likely say “it just looked like an Isabella). And she gave it (‘scuse me, HER) a face.

So we’ll pass on, Isabella’s face will persist. And centuries hence, an entire folk explanation will spring up for the discovery of a woodlands race that worshipped trees on a steep hillside overlooking what one man long ago called Nameless Creek. What must they have been like, they’ll wonder.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I think they’ll know you had a good sense of humor…..LOL

    That reminds me of the tree-people in the Lord of the Rings movies.

  2. we drove by a house that had these faces on a couple of trees, and my son believes they are ents. so when we buy a house, i told my husband that i’m going to buy these faces adn find an old tree to put them on, so he will have his own ents….