Saturday, 22 February 2014

tree, carolina

The Angel Oak is thought to be one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi River. Acorns from the Angel Oak have grown to produce authentic direct-offspring trees.. Live oaks generally grow out and not up, but the Angel Oak has had plenty of time to do both, standing 65 ft high and with a canopy providing 17,000 square feet of shade. Its limbs, the size of tree trunks themselves, are so large and heavy that some of them rest on the ground (some even drop underground for a few feet and then come back up), a feature common to only the very oldest live oaks. It has survived countless hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and human interference, so there's a good chance it will still be there waiting for you. 
Charleston, SC is proud of its heritage and respected for its commitment to preserving history in the area, so residents hope that plans will not proceed to cut down nearby trees and forest in favor of land development.
On the petition link even if you don’t sign you will be able to read pages of interesting comments and pleas from residents who have fond memories of climbing the branches as children, plus exclamations by tourists who have visited the area specifically to see the Angel Oak, and the tree is so significant to locals, a nearby elementary school carries its’ name. Picnics, weddings and reunions are held to this day in the Angel Oak Park free of charge, including an annual summer Arts event, “Evening under Angel Oak” featuring live music, drama and other activities.

This summer my husband and I drove through South Carolina and took a short detour to John’s Island. We drove through wicked rains at the edge of Tropical storm Faye, so when we arrived at Angel Oak park no one else was there. The tree trunk and lower branches are so immense, they have been propped up with stakes and heavy cables here and there, which is a little intrusive when taking photos, but obviously necessary. Growth is spread outward more than upward, occupying an enormous space at least 150 feet wide.
It occurred to me that this tree has lived through one serious chunk of history, and wondered what was happening on our planet when The Angel Oak was knee-high to an acorn? 1400 years ago it was the year 608 A.D., Common Era. Almost everything we are familiar with; our collective modern identity has been shaped by many of the events and people who lived and died since the Angel Tree established its first roots in the earth.
Angel Oak’s parent-tree was undoubtedly alive for centuries before and during the year 476 A.D. when the last of the Roman emperors died, bringing about the Fall of Rome. Around the 7th Century A.D. an acorn falls from one of the magnificent Oaks on the southeastern shores of a land only known to the indigenous peoples; a land we now refer to as North America.


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