Years ago, I took a trip with my Grandma to South Carolina. As we prepared to head home, I wanted to make a one final stop as a surprise for my Mamaw. The morning of our departure, I had noticed some artwork hanging in the lobby of our hotel – a black and white series of blown up photographs with this magnificent, local tree as their subject.
I decided to read up on this tree to see if it was even still alive and to my delight, it was! In fact, the Angel Oak is thought to be the oldest tree on the east side of the Mississippi River.
My grandma is a very Christian woman, so much so, a deviled egg is called an angel egg when Mamaw is around. So, what better kind of tree to check out than an angel oak!
Located just outside of Charleston, on Johns Island, this natural masterpiece stands 67 feet tall, measures 28 feet in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet.
You can tell that the branches themselves weigh so much, they appear almost to be separate trees, taking on lives of their own, dipping into the ground, and some, even needing the additional support from wooden posts.
It is estimated that the Angel Oak is to be at least 500 years old, making it one of the oldest living things in our country. Think about that. 500 years old! Our country isn’t even half that old and the amount of history we know of in that timeframe is overwhelming. Imagine all the life the Angel Oak has seen in the centuries before that.
I write about the Angel Oak as a person, because to me, she is in way. She started as a signal acorn, grew into a sapling, and with nourishment, sunlight, water, she has grown into one of the most beautiful natural examples of life I have laid my eyes on.
Trees are the perfect metaphors for our own lives. We all start out the same. We are conceived, we grow in our mother’s wombs, and then enter the world as these little babies, no skills, no talents. But then we grow. The environment we live in helps shape us. The people who take care of help determine how we develop. Some days there will be sun, other days, fierce storms. But how our lives ultimately turn out depends on us – it all depends on how deep we plant our roots. We must make the decision, we’re not going anywhere. We are here on this earth for a reason. To make a difference, to leave our mark. Don’t you want that mark to be a beautiful one?
One of the biggest perks of this natural wonder, it’s completely free to visit!
Hands down, the scenery that South Carolina has to offer is breathtaking. I know we didn’t even scratch the surface of what Charleston has to offer which means another trip to visit the city side of this historic town is a must!
Have you been to Charleston? What are you favorite must-see sights?!