Early morning, this is what you see from our back windows. It feels like grace pouring through the sheltering trees with promise. I never tire of it. The trees of Amelia are a sacred trust. They are more than just beings of beauty. The island is, in reality, an ancient sand dune. Our live oaks tether us to the earth, retaining water and giving us a foundation on which to build the world we share with other creatures in the wild environment around us. They are in fact stewards for all of us who live here. Without due diligence and stewardship, our island's very existence would be in jeopardy.
Recently, a large swath of live oaks, of varied ages, were destroyed to make room for a gas station expansion. It horrified and mobilized the Island. Indescriminately yanked from the earth, its mother, one could nearly hear the cries of these live creatures as they were fed to the chipper. Letters to the editor poured deluged our local paper. Finally, the commissioners appointed a tree council which will see to it that such a sacrilege does not occur again: we hope.
Every locale must fight such thoughtlessness but it never gets easier.
Harken back to Joni Mitchell to hear it all before...
These venerable treasures have long predated us, they provided shade for the Native Americans that once peopled this area. This is a photo of a 1400 year old Angel Oak tree in Charleston, S.C., up the coast from us.
We have our own live oaks right in our neighborhood...
We chose the tree for the symbol of tracing our own roots. I used this sketch as a cover
for one of my geneaogical newsletter. The twisting contours tell a story of
generations and generations just as trees tell their own tale of progeny.
Drawing by Sandra J. Pineault
This was my painting tribute to the live oaks that surround us, giving
Amelia Island its identity. In a kind
of partnership spanish moss adorns our live oaks. They sway in the
gentle breeze, like old men's beards.
Spanish Moss Tango
Sandra J. Pineault
Ironically, a new bike and walking path was just extended on to the Island weaving through stands of live oaks. It passes by where the stand of oaks once lived in its task of protection.
We could talk a whole lot more about such incongruity....