True story: When we first acquired the “40 acres square” we call Fallen Timbers, our (later disputed) western property line was marked by pink and white survey tape hanging in the tree limbs. A spring ground fire had consumed much of this tape, but the fire hadn’t reached all of the western boundary. Yet all of the survey tape was gone. I puzzled about this for a while, but it didn’t dominate my thoughts for long.
Years passed. The inevitable storms of spring and summer came, and several of the mature oaks in our woods were toppled by the winds. (Libby and I were in the woods on a windy day once when we heard a tree beyond the ridge creak and then crash to the forest floor. Quite an impressive sound! I’m glad we weren’t under it.)
Most of the trees that come down are hollow on the inside, which is a common fate for Ozark oaks. Often I will visit these fallen trees and attempt to cut the major branches so that the limbs will rest on the forest floor. They will decay sooner that way and enrich the soil.
I approached one such fallen oak and found that it had indeed been hollow. Within the hollow part of the stump that was still standing, I saw the gathered leaves of what was obviously a den, probably for a raccoon. Amidst all of the leaves in this stump were hundreds of bits of pink and white survey tape.