Face to face with a staring old tree

2015-01-06 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — Naas Prins­loo from Pretoria said he has never been a tree hugger, but now that a big old tree has looked him in the eye, he may become one.

This after Prinsloo had his own Middle Earth experience in the Tsitsikamma forest over the festive season, when he went on a guided tour through the forest.

“I was listening to the birds tweeting and such when I got this feeling someone was really staring at me … you know, like when your mom glares at you to sit still in church.”

Prinsloo looked around to see who was giving him the eye and for a second he thought he had gone, well, barking mad. For there, at the foot of a tree, a huge face that could have inspired all the walking trees in the Lord of the Rings stories was glaring back at him.

“It had a knobbly nose, severe mouth, and a rough bark skin with green hair,” said Prinsloo.

“I’m telling you, that guy pulls up his roots at night and then goes places! I hope he is still there when I go back, for I will go back. The two of us have to shake a branch again.”

Prinsloo said he was amazed when the guide, Emo Munnik, said most people do not see the face easily, although it is clear in the photo.

“Heavens man, that tree was glaring at me so hard I did not need a camera to look him in the eye!”

But Prinsloo did take several photos from every possible angle to show people he was not Photoshopping anything.

Munnik (33), who has been guiding people for seven years, believes Prinsloo has a special connection with nature — which is why he could sense the wild pear tree had a “face” before he could see it.

He said most people have to walk to the tree’s “good side” before they can see the face. He said the tree is between 500 and 600 years old,

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