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The Angel Oak

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posted by alias nikname on Friday 29th of August 2008 03:44:03 AM

This set of photos honors the efforts of a petition to halt construction on John's Island, South Carolina that would encroach on an area of land boasting an Oak tree estimated to be between 1,400 and 1,500 years old. 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. It occurred to me that this tree has lived through one serious chunk of history. I 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. The acorn sprouts along with many others...but this one will outlive the rest, seasoning hurricanes, wars, and countless generations of playful children climbing it's branches. The acorn sprouts in conjunction with the collapse of Teotihuacan, one of the major cities in Mesoamerica with widespread influence in central Mexico. The Toltec civilization was unheard of, and would not flourish for another 500 years (1100-1521). Aztecs did not seize power until the 13th century. When this tree was 300 years old during 901 A.D., the Vikings discovered Greenland. In 1066 William the Conqueror and the Norman troops conquered England, altering the English culture forever by bringing French rule and rivalry with France until the French Revolution from 1789 - 1799. Circa 1100 A.D. the famous Buddhist temple, Angkor Wat in Cambodia is constructed to house the Hindu faith. Around 1275 A.D. Marco Polo, the Venetian explorer and trader visits China via the Silk Road, returning to Europe with new foods and goods from the Orient which impact modern culture, medicine and dietary habits today. The Black Death devastates Europe around 1348 A.D., while the 740 year old Angel Oak thrives. Columbus and other adventurers would not claim to discover America for another 144 years (C. 1592). Leonardo Da Vinci, a man light-years ahead of his time in the field of science and medicine through his Art studies. By the time he would paint the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo would paint the Sistine Chapel, the Angel Oak has lived for 900 years. The Tree continues growth beyond the life of Galileo, father of modern Astronomy, and through the life of Shakespeare, who established some of the most famous English literature in our era (c. 1564 - 1616). Year 1776 - Angel Oak is 1,166 years old when the U.S. breaks free from British rule and establishes the first Independence Day In 1895. By the time the Angel Oak had already survived for 1,287 winters Sigmund Freud would help spur modern medicine/psychology into a new open-minded age of thinking. The First World War between 1914-1918 was followed by WWII, 1939 -45/51. According to after the Category 5 Hurricane Hugo hit the coast of in 1989, Governor Carroll Campbell is reported to say that the storm destroyed enough timber in South Carolina to frame a home for every family in the state of West Virginia. All those trees and forests obliterated, yet The Angel Oak survived. It has since healed injuries inflicted by Hurricane Hugo. So...I empathize with those who live on John's Island, whose sentiment toward the tree that symbolically links them to family - present and past. The petition is looking for only 20,000 signatures, and has over 1400 as I write this post. Aren't there at least 20,000 people in the world who care about the sensitivity of every single Coastal ecosystem? I think so. One petitioner quotes songwriter Joanie Mitchell: Are we going to pave paradise and put up a parking lot? Here is the link to the petition:

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  • Published 09.30.22
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