21 October 2013

See the tree, dear?

Deer Head Oak, McClellanville, S.C.
See the deer? Nope. Neither do I. It is a magnificent oak tree but it is called Deer Head Oak Tree and although I squinted, stared and circled the tree, I can't see it.

The Deerhead Oak is both larger in circumference, 30.6 feet, and height, 67 feet, than the famed Angel Oak on Johns Island, SC estimated by some to be more than 1,500 years old and thought to be the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi River. Of course, it is hard to estimate the age of these ancient trees, which predate the discovery of America by the Europeans, because boring samples are not reliable due to a tendency for the live oaks heart wood to rot.
It takes some creativity to see the deer head, with its knobby eyes and nose and long antler branches, but no matter if you can't. The value in the tree comes not from its likeness to an animal, but from its beauty and history.
A giant oak stands in the town,
Its known as the Deer Head Tree.
Surely the oldest living thing
Within our community.
For centuries rooted in place,
Watching the seasons pass.
No telling just how old it is,
Or how long yet it may last.
I sometimes wonder if this old tree
Had senses and wit ad tongue,
What stories it might tell us,
Of events since it was young.
~By James O. McClellan

They are correct. If it is 1,500 years old it may have looked like a deer, five hundred years ago. It is a grand dear tree.