Angel Oak Tree

blogging, city, Daily Prompt, family, history, Hughs Weekly Photo Challenge, Nature, Outdoors, slavery, travel, Trees

When looking at the Angel Oak Tree, it’s like a walk through a mystical time period.  Spots of hazy, heavenly, light shows its beams through the leaves onto the branches.  I expected nymphs and winged fairies to flitter under the huge canopy of the massive oak tree.  This centuries-old tree continues to grow near a dirt road that leads to the Angel Oak tree; which is surrounded amongst many Low Country trees. 

Angel Oak Tree

The Angel Oak tree is located on St. Johns Island, about twelve miles south from downtown Charleston, NC.  When I saw the Angel Oak Tree in 2019, it is free admission.  There just aren’t many free places to stop, and this is one that is definitely worthwhile.

This peculiar tree is said to be one of the oldest living oak trees east of the Mississippi River.  Arborists estimates the Angel Oak tree is 400 to 500 years old. Several reasons for the Angel Oak’s longevity is its natural hardiness, long taproot, and widespread root systems, that anchors the tree deep into the ground.  This is how it has survived natures elements of winds, storms, earthquakes, and hurricanes through-out the centuries.  It does show scars from natures elements; but the old oak tree still stands strong and brave.

Angel Oak Tree

The uniqueness of the tree is that it grows both up and out.  Its massive, twisted, and gnarled branches reach out like tentacles from a giant monster.  It’s said, by tour guides, the tree stands 66.5 ft (20 ml), the trunk measures 28 ft (8.5m) in circumference and produces shade that covers 17,200 feet (1,600 m2). 

Local folklore tells of another source for the name of the tree; ghosts of former slaves are said to appear as angels around the tree. 

 In her Ghosts and Legends of Charleston, Denise Roffe interviewed a woman descended from the slaves who toiled on the island’s plantations. She recounted the legends of the tree, including that it was once home to huge birds (likely vultures) who fed on the bodies of lynched slaves. The old woman continued saying that many people were buried under the tree including Native Americans who met under its shady branches. She stated that these spirits still gather around the oak and that they also work to protect the tree.

Recorded history traces the ownership of the live oak and surrounding land to year 1717.  When Abraham Waight received it as part of a small land grant, the tree stayed in Waight’s family for four generations, and was part of a marriage settlement to Justus Angel and Martha Waight Tucker Angel. The Angel Oak tree is now owned by the City of Charleston and has become the focal point of a public park.

Many weddings and engagements take place under the canopy of this beautiful historical tree.  

A Walk in the Woods

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I see a Barred Owl from the corner of my eye.
Is it stretching its wing or getting ready to fly?
With intense eyes, the owl stares.
I am concerned and a little scared.
I raise my camera and push the button.
Now I know this event will not be forgotten.

Owl with open wings-2.jpg

Photo and poem by Richard Smith
Camera used is a Sony A77II, Sony lens 70-400mm, ISO 3200, 400MM, F7.1, AT 1/1000 Sec.

Barred Owl

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I am a barred owl whose skill is to hunt.
Like night-light vision and soulful brown eyes,
I can search from high in a darken sky.
In a dash and swoop, my prey I confront.

By day, I rest and snooze within a tree.
If I’m awakened by an unknown sound
With eyes wide open, I look all around.
my head turns to all sides so I can see.

Owl with open beak.jpg

Photo and poem by me (Richard Smith)

Photo was taken with a Sony A77II, Sony lens 70-400mm, ISO 3200, 400mm, f/7.1, 1/1000 of a sec. Location: Nolan Trail, Newport News, VA 4/21/17

 

Spring is the Season of Romance

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Today I did some bird photography in the woods at the Mariners’ Museum located in Newport News, VA.  Spring is a season of romance.  Birds are doing their mating rituals as well as other creatures like this pair of snakes. These snakes were about 6 feet from me. 

The lesson I learned when looking up for our feathery friends, be cautious where you stand and step.  The moral of this story is look up, look down and know what is all around.

Photo shot with a Sony A77II, Sony lens 70-400mm, ISO 1600, 160mm, f/5.6 at 1/800 sec.

Snake mating.jpg

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A Good Match

The Brown Pelican, A bird survivor

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At one time the Brown Pelicans were usually less common north of the Carolinas. Within the last few years it appears the Brown Pelicans are venturing into the Southeast Coast of Virginia.  Today many Brown Pelicans are spotted in and around the estuary of the James River that empties into the Chesapeake Bay.  The primary food source for the Brown Pelicans is Menhaden fish.            

In 2012 the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission declared that the Atlantic Menhaden was depleted due to overfishing. The decision was driven by issues with water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and failing efforts to re-introduce predator species, due to lack of Menhaden on which they could feed.

With these site indicators, could this mean the Brown Pelicans have return more abundantly due to improved water quality and the Menhaden are more plentiful?

Photos and article  by Richard Smith

Conquer

Young Blue Jay

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Spring has sprung as a blue jay’s young;
Clings its feet to a budding branch lightly green.
Oh! how low this cunning bird roams,
From high up is its home.

Blue Jay at Newport News, Park in Virginia 4-3-17: Camera is Sony A77ii, Sony Lens 70-400mm, ISO 640, 360mm, F6.3 @ 1/1250 sec.

Young Blue Jay.jpg

Life’s little mystery

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This fallen piece of tree trunk amazed me.  It made me wonder how time, weather, and nature can carve something to resemble an object.  Is it the forces of the elements or nature’s magic?  What ever it is I enjoy the beauty of what nature offers to show.

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Construct
Magic

Love, peace and an understanding of gentleness

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Oh to be welcomed amongst a flock of birds and see the excitement of these pigeons. Their wings open like outstretched arms flapping like hands clapping with enthusiasm. It was a pleasure to photograph these exhilarating creatures.

pigeons spooked.jpg

Hope you enjoy the photo and the written humor!

Animal

Spring has sprung; birds will sing

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Buds are bursting and spring has sprung.

The glum winters’ end has come.

Spring winds blow to welcome a generation of new.

Chirrup! Chirrup! I chirp this song for you..

young sparrow.jpg

Comments and critiques are always welcomed: