The Angel Oak tree may be the best-known and most-loved tree east of the Mississippi. It certainly is no stretch to say it is the best-known and most-loved tree in the Carolinas. I have given several talks and been in many shows these past two years showing my tree photographs. The one tree that people have mentioned to me repeatedly is the Angel Oak. They often mistake the photo on the cover of "These Trees" as the Angel Oak. The cover photo is actually of a Japanese Maple.
The Angel Oak tree is located on Johns Island, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Its age is estimated to be between 200 - 500 years old depending on your source. It is 66 feet tall and its shade covers 17,200 square feet. Interestingly its name derives from Justus and Martha Angel who owned it at one time -- not from any celestial being. The tree is now owned by the city of Charleston. Admission is free. It is surrounded by a tall gate so you'll need to visit during official visiting hours to get through the gate.
I had visited the Angel Oak, and photographed it, three times before the publication of my book. But I didn't use it in the book because, well, I found it difficult to focus on the tree and not all the signs all around the tree saying 'don't sit on this tree' and the signs, literally, attached to those signs saying 'do not move these signs.' (See photo below)
But I visited the Angel Tree again recently and realized that with a change of perspective I could enjoy the tree much more. The first picture with this blog is a close in of one section of the tree high above any of the annoying signs. It is my favorite picture of the tree. A picture including the signs is just above this text. This reminds me again of a good life lesson that changing your perspective can well change your view of life for the better. It doesn't mean you should ignore all the annoying things that distract you from the beauty of life -- but finding a way to focus on specific parts or areas may bring you joy.
There are two photos below this text, side by side. The one on the left is the Angel Tree (live oak) the one on the right is on the cover of "These Trees" (Japanese maple). It isn't the leaves that I notice with these trees, but rather the graceful curving of their limbs, or what I think of as their 'lines.'
Both exemplify the words of the poet Kahlil Gibran, "Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky."
Ruthie photographs trees because she loves them.