Aspen Markings – #2

Nature adds its own designs to aspen trunks.  Some bear a striking resemblance to familiar objects, in a phenomenon called pareidolia, where the mind perceives patterns and familiar shapes, similar to seeing shapes in the clouds.


One of the most commonly seen images in aspen stands is the aspen bark “eye”, which is formed from scar tissue when a side branch dies and breaks off.  Since aspen trees are sun-loving and shade intolerant, the tree stops investing energy and resources in lower branches as the crown of the tree continues to reach for the best rays high in the canopy.



They come in different shapes and slightly different sizes, but the resemblance is undeniable.  Notice some dead and dying branches in the background that have not yet broken off.


It is said that Basque and Peruvian sheepherders used to refer to these images as “The Eye of God”.  Maybe it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

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