Towering over 65 feet high, the Angel Oak has shaded John’s Island, South Carolina, USA, for over 1400 years, and would have sprouted 1000 years before Columbus’ arrival in the New World. Recorded history traces the ownership of the live oak and surrounding land, back to the year 1717 when Abraham Waight received it as part of a small land grant. The tree stayed in the Waight family for four generations, and was part of a Marriage Settlement to Justus Angel and Martha Waight Tucker Angel. In modern times, the Angel Oak has become the focal point of a public park. Today the live oak has a diameter of spread reaching 160 feet, a circumference of nearly 25 feet, and covers 17,100 square feet of ground. www.historictrees.org
It’s interesting to me how the English language can appear to contain secrets in its structure; for instance, if I break down the word ‘atonement,’ I get, ‘at-one-ment’ – have this happen once and I write it off to coincidence, but I’ve noticed it happens a lot; I find this intriguing.
The tree was lent its name by virtue of the fact that the land it sits on was once owned by the Angel family. After spending a bit of time beneath her, I wondered at the peculiarity of that coincidence of her naming, which is suggestive to me of a historical circumstance that seems to better ensure a name for the tree to hint at what she’s really about. Experts estimate her age at 1400 years which makes her an ancient tree by east coast USA standards. Folks here must have sensed something special about her because they’ve gone to a lot of trouble to set aside a bit of land, so maybe she won’t go the way of all the others before her.
What if it is true that such ancient trees serve an ancient purpose; what if they contain some hidden meaning within their structure; what if they are an avenue through which the Source of all things communicates a particular experience to anyone with an open heart to receive? Then it makes sense to me to seek them out and sit with them, and make sure that the axe does not find the few that yet remain. Such a loss would be like trashing the love letters of a soul mate or burning the last original copy of Plato, or Shakespeare, or even, dare I suggest it….
By Miles A Moody
I am, before the place of time and space.
I was, at the moment of first light,
To be the flash of primal dawn.
Awakening creation, I stretched forth my arms
Giving birth to the great ones, the bright ones
Burning in starlight, lives brief yet fertile.
Will you but remember?
I was the birth, the death of the great suns;
Out of the mist of their dissolution
The long-life ones began to shine,
To gather the planets about themselves
Making way for a new wave of being, still.
The age of creatures begun in me.
May you but remember.
I was there upon the rock of earth;
My breath brought forth the skies,
Out of my body I made the soil,
As invitation to take root and reach deeply into me.
My canopy lifted up, as sustenance for many,
As respite for a new complexity of things;
To crawl, to fly, to stand tall and know me fully,
As the mother of all that is.
Formed within me, the stuff of me,
I give you forth into time and space;
There to be, to live, to thrive,
And yet you are within me still.
Know me and remember….
©Miles A Moody Written and photographic works are the sole property of copyright holder; reproduction in part or in full only with expressed permission or purchase
Nikon D90, 20 mm, ISO 200, 3 shots at -1,0, and +1 exposures = 1/100,1/50 and 1/200 sec, all F/20, Gitzo tripod, Bogen head, Johns Island, Charleston, SC USA (HDR2 processed in CS5, all man-made items cloned out of the image).