Tuesday, March 09, 2010
In the late 1980s before I left for graduate school, I worked with the South Carolina Forest Service to locate beautiful tree specimens over 200 years old. The Forest Service was honoring those trees that had been well cared for and had survived so many years.
I located this oak during my study of Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana) and nominated it for this distinction. The oak was located along the row of former slave dwellings at Charlestown Landing, and the manager of the park told me that it had been the site of slave weddings. The tree received its due honor, and every time I visited Charleston, I had to make a trip to see her.
Since there had been so many changes at the Park since I last visited, I had a difficult time finding the tree again. The focus of the Park had been changed from a recreational destination to a state historic landmark -- complete with archaeological digs and evidence, reconstruction of a few dwellings, a fine museum honoring the founders and the groups who made the area famous. Absolutely delightful and a wonderful addition to Charleston's other historic sights.
C and I eventually found the tree -- but the large limb that reached to the ground and back up (propped in 1989) had fallen, and with all the changes to the park, the plaque had to be moved as well. Still, she stood grand as ever! I painted this from the photo I took of her this trip, and I do hope to paint it again from the 1980 photos I have of her in her former glory.
She is still as massive and impressive and she was long ago ....