Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Must See if you're anywhere near Charleston, SC: The Angel Tree on St. John's Island

Okay, you have to see this tree in person.  It's a live oak and it's reputed to be the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi river.  It's over 1,500 years old -- it was a sapling a thousand years before Christopher Columbus set foot on the continent -- and it's absolutely awe-inspiring.



Not only is that all one tree, but it's not even the whole tree -- this tree is so big, I couldn't even get a picture of the whole thing.  The canopy is over 17,000 square feet and the tree stands 65 feet tall.  The tree's limbs stretch down to the ground.



Here again, this is all one tree, and you're not even looking at the whole thing.  And you can't really get a feel for the enormity from the picture because there's nothing in the photo that establishes the scale.



This is the same shot, but I zoomed in so you can see the easel on the left, which stands about 5' high.  Now you can scroll back up to the previous shot, look for the easel again, and get a better sense of the size of this tree.  You're probably wondering why I didn't take a picture of a person standing next to the tree, aren't you?  Well, unfortunately, when we got there at 11 o'clock on Sunday morning, the tree was closed.

Okay, fine -- so the park was closed, and the tree happened to be in the park, behind a tall wire fence that I was not up to climbing. 

The Angel Tree is located on St. John's island just outside of Charleston, South Carolina, in a public park.  If you're ever out that way, it's definitely worth the detour.  Just think how many human lives have come and go, how many human dramas have unfolded, how many crises have come and gone, how much the planet has changed since this little acorn sprouted in the dirt on St. John's island.  And the tree has outlasted it all.

Wouldn't you know it, though -- a developer is trying to clear the surrounding forest area on three sides of the Angel Tree to make way for a bunch of condos and a shopping center, despite warnings from experts that to do so would imperil the Angel Tree.  To add your name to a petition seeking to block this development, follow this link.  To see more pictures and learn more about this tree, go to http://www.sciway.net/photos/coast-sc/angel-oak/.

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