Angel Oak

Angel Oak is one of the more bizarre trees you might ever get to see. Located on Johns Island, it is just outside Charleston, South Carolina. While I was in the area I stopped to take a few pictures and I am glad that I did. I don’t know about you, but my first thought is, “It doesn’t look anything like an Angel”. So why do they call it the Angel Oak? Some legends describe how the ghost of slaves can sometimes be seen floating around the tree. Of course, those are just stories. It is a cute idea though I suppose. The fact is that the name comes from the Angel Estate, owned by couple Justus Angel and Martha Waight Angel.

The tree itself looks more like some unnatural tentacle monster if you ask me. I have to say that there is much to say for this tree being preposterous, bordering on impossible. How could it possibly have survived for 500 years and supported all of those limbs? The truth is that it couldn’t. Under natural conditions, the tree would have never reached the size it has if humans hadn’t intervened.  Severe damage to the tree occurred in 1989 thanks to Hurricane Hugo.Taking a closer look you can see several ways in which man has kept Angel Oak alive. Cables and poles are used to help the tree support the weight of those comical/nonsensical limbs. In other places, tar has been poured in to keep the tree from rotting.

I found the enhanced supports given to the tree to be very fascinating. The levels that humans will go to preserve a natural phenomenon is intriguing. At what point does the tree stop being an anomaly and instead become a human creation? Regardless, Angel Oak is certainly something worth seeing if given the chance.

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