Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thoughts at the Angel Oak

Some random thoughts I had while walking around and under the Oak today:
  • Most trees are a tall trunk, from which spread the branches in a halo. The human body is much the same. Slightly different theme for most animals: a horizontal trunk, supported by multiple limbs. Human architecture tends to follow the animal form, oddly enough. Exceptions include Fuller's house, and the yurt.
  • The Angel Oak has multiple support points, like an animal; but the overwhelming impression is more like an atom or an amoeba, with a central pillar that branches in all directions.
  • Time. Time is measured in changes. Something that changes little... time moves more slowly. The Oak moves slowly compared to humans, but it still loses and regains its leaves each year (in the spring); it is not changeless. Humans tend to come and go quickly, rather than lingering under it.
  • It is a sculpture carved by gravity, light, air, time, and the forest around it. The branches curve and twist in unexpected ways, echoes of obstacles the tree once faced, now long-gone. For some reason, it hasn't grown to the east. Maybe there was a building there, or another large tree, now vanished?
  • The tree has grown to become an axis mundi. It exerts its influence on the land all round it, physically and spiritually, so that it echoes the oak; and the oak reflects the land all round it, too. Of course, this is true of all things; it is only our manners of seeing that pick out axes mundi.

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