Tree Book #3: Island Oak

February 28, 2012

Island Oak - Two Views

Island Oak - Two Views

Two views of the same ancient Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) from Nags Head Woods on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  A third view would have completed the circle and showed the jagged blades of wood in the hollow trunk, but it was impossible to get a photo from that direction, since the tree is growing next to a swamp thicket.

This is one of the illustrations for the Lichen Oracle.  I don’t intend to illustrate every glyph (that would defeat the purpose of the oracle, and limit it too much) but the story that goes with them will need a few pictures.  This important tree also inspired one of the glyphs.

An ancient live oak anchors the heart of the island.  Its hollow trunk is filled with snakes and snails, and booms like a drum.  The surface of the wood is storm-polished where the bark has worn away.  It feels cool and hard, like a river boulder.  The heavy branches arch overhead, some broken and rotting, others still sparkling with leaves and acorns.  Water-filled branch scars hold reflections of jellyfish.  A sea turtle skull, round and white as the full moon, lies deep below the oldest roots.  Rain and starlight fall through the empty trunk and wash like waves over the dreaming bone.

Lichen Glyph of Acient Oak Tree

Lichen Glyph of Acient Oak Tree

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