Friday, March 9, 2018

The Angel Oak

Driving under a canopy of live oak trees on James Island outside Charleston, South Carolina, a small sign beckons the traveler: Angel Oak, with an arrow pointing to a dirt road. Hub and I detoured down the road, parked next to a dozen other cars and entered a fenced off area to view close up the Angel Oak, a 400-year-old tree around long enough to witness the first European adventurers walk the land.

The age of the tree is estimated. This variety of tree hollows inside as it ages, so the traditional counting rings method for calculating age does not work for this type of tree.

The Angel Oak is an impressive example of nature’s beauty. It is a miracle the tree did not succumb over the centuries to the forces of nature – hurricanes, earthquakes, floods – or surrender to the needs of men. Trees were used for shipbuilding, turned into lumber for homes and fed fires needed for warmth and cooking. Logging felled many of the Angel Oak’s neighbors. Somehow the Angel Oak survived the ravages of time and the hand of man.
Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong. 
- Winston Churchill

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, 
as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, 
that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. 
- Robert Louis Stevenson

I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. 
There was such a glory over everything. 
The sun came up like gold through the trees, 
and I felt like I was in heaven. 
- Harriet Tubman