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Photographic "trick:" Cropping the image so the eyes of the subject are along the top or bottom third lines will make it appear as if the subject is always looking directly at the viewer. Try looking at this image in a reasonably large size from different angles and see how the eyes follow you.
Of course those aren't really eyes, and that isn't some kind of tree goblin coming out for a looksee. It's a fungus of some sort growing near where the trunk is splitting as it dies. Without spending a lot more time studying the tree, at this point I'll simply guess it lost out in the race to the canopy.
From unl 5 central forest