"Can you show it to me? And I'll take a picture."
"Sure I can show it to you, but it's in a man's yard, and he might not take too kindly to you taking a picture of it."
Well, I was absolutely taken with the beauty and stateliness of the tree. It looked to me like a bald cypress, and the new growth gave a fresh, soft appearance that contrasted gorgeously with the strong trunk.
This tree is inland from the natural range of the bald cypress. The story (one of the stories) is that back in the days of mule and wagons, farmers in the area would go to Wilmington, NC, to get their fertilizer for the year. Now, that in itself was a fascinating thing to me because that would have been a long trip (roughly 300 miles, round trip). Also, that doesn't narrow down the dates as much as you might expect because it's possible that the farmers in the area were still relying on their mules and wagons even after the advent of cars and trucks. It also brings up the topic of the history of fertilizer, which is a whole 'nother can of worms. Anyway, the story (one of the stories) goes that one of the farmers brought back a couple of cones from a tree in the Wilmington area and planted them.
The other version of the story is that a traveler came through the area, spent the night at one place, gave his hosts one of the cones to plant, spent the night in the other location, and also gave them one of the cones to plant.
Which story (if either) is the way it happened, we don't really know. Judging by the size of the tree, it happened long ago, and we may never know.
When I look at the first shot I snapped, it's amusing to see pampas grass, which is native to a grassland growing next to a tree which is native to swampy areas (growing next to trees which are probably typical hardwoods of the piedmont of NC).
There is a possibility I have the wrong identification on the tree, but suffice it to say, it is a unique specimen in its area.
Update: I was just reminded that there is a planting of bald cypresses at an historic site near where this tree is. I would still say this tree is fairly unique in its area, just not totally unique.