these are a way of showing a long route so a track can be retraced or people found if we go in to unexplored teritories. Patterans must be made from natural objects placed in a way that is cearly recognised. Patterans can be made from pinecones, stones, sticks, nuts, pebbledash stones, matches, or marks in the mud or soil. take care not to place patterans where they may be spoiled by other people walking on them. Small pieces of paper can be used if they are a natural colour and are no bigger that 10mm by 40 mm. These can be prepared in advance, and kept in plastic bags ready for when they are needed.
"They began to come upon from time to time small cairns of rock by the roadside. The were signs in gypsy language, lost patterans." --from "The Road," by Cormac McCarthy.