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.  

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Sparrows

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These very common small birds are friendly birds and are often surrounded by half a dozen or more of its kind. During cold winter months they feed on seeds and grains. In the spring, summer and fall they feed on insects, flies and mosquitoes. Normally sparrows are noticed in joyful conditions, sing musically and chatterers about the day’s business. There are times a sparrow will mourn; this only happens when the bird’s mate has been killed or its nest and young is destroyed. Although some people may consider them a nuisance and of no monetary value, but accordance to the Bible in the days of Jesus, these tiny birds were an article of commerce as they are now in the Far East.

Eastern Song Sparrow

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Chipping Sparrow

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Your comments are appreciated

 

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.

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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.

A Bird with a Talon to Fish

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I swoop and dive into the river James.
Out from the shallow water’s a fish I retain.
My young juveniles with open beaks awaits me.
I nourish them with fish I caught by the talons of my feet.

Pictured taken from a Sony A77II, Sony lens 70–400mm,
1/1250 sec., at f5.6, ISO 400, 360mm

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Winter

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Snow does not stop her from hanging out laundry.  The smell of fresh wintry clothes and sheets overpowers the snow and cold.  Although house dryers are today’s means of drying clothes, it still feels good to go back in time.

This is the day of the snow.

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This is the second day after the snow.

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It’s Not This Time of Year Without…

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.

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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..

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Comments and critiques are always welcomed:

A Time for Joy

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After a scorching summer, today is a blessing. The heavy over-cast clouded sky sprayed a light mist throughout the day.  I stepped outside, and a chill hit me like you’d feel when you first jump in the water.  As I walked to the river, I became more aware of my surroundings.

Squirrels noisily scampered over the fallen leaves to search out the fallen acorns.  A crisp autumn day displayed its colors like an artist’s palette of reds, yellows oranges, and browns.  Leaves of oak, maple, and elm laid among the musty rich soil of last year’s decaying leaves.  The once vibrant green leaves still cling to the limbs, are now withered and spotted with age.

I inhaled deeply and smelled the smoke of burning cedar from the chimney of a nearby house.  A fishy scent permeated the air as I came closer to the water.  Like steam from a boiling teapot, cloudy vapors hovered on the waters’ surface.  Drops of rain pelted the water like bait fish jumping in and out of the water.

In the distance, I heard fog horns bellow out their low blaring signal.  Out from the waters cloudy vapor I could see the silhouette of a crab boat.  As it got closer, crab baskets stacked 4 high seem to overflow the boat’s tiny deck.  The boat cut a deep wake making its way to the pier to off load its daily catch of the day.

In these days of technology and fast paced time, we no longer take in the beauty of nature and hear the sounds of joy.   Although the day was dismal and dreary, I found happiness and pleasure in capturing the various senses of my surroundings.