There is an old tree down at my favorite spot in Buffalo City that reminds me of a church pew. It bends low, and provides the perfect base for resting on its thick trunk along the ground. Recently, I took some visiting family and friends down to my favorite tree and explained how spiritual the setting felt to me…like I was sitting in sanctuary or on hallowed ground. The backdrop of the cliffs at Buffalo City peeking through the trees looked like stained glass windows.
It wasn’t long before I got an email from my guests sharing a legend that might explain the sense of peace I feel when I am near that tree. The story goes that over 150 years ago, Native American Indians purposefully deformed trees to mark their routes to important water sources. The trees were trained to bend to mark travel paths and many of them still stand today. That certainly makes sense, as Buffalo City is the spot where two significant rivers converge – the Buffalo and the White. As I think about the Osage and other tribes that walked the banks of these rivers, I realize that my instinct was right. This tree does mark a hallowed spot. For centuries, men have gathered here to fish and celebrate life. Even today, this Indian Marker Tree has led me to the waters too.