Tree trimmers at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette said they discovered the image Tuesday while cutting through a fallen California pine. The 4-inch-thick tree slice is currently being displayed in the office of cemetery administrators, the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times reported Thursday.
"Since my brother passed away, I've been looking for signs, waiting for him to come to me in my dreams, tell me goodbye," said Juan Ochoa, 45, a cemetery groundskeeper who said the image is helping ease his pain.
Lewis Feldman, a professor of plant biology at the University of California-Berkeley, said the cross shape may be an aromatic scar tissue known as "heartwood," which trees transport to the dead tissue of their centers.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]
UPI Almanac for Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014