Friday, October 5, 2012

Earlysville White Oak

The Ancient White Oak by Twomey
Ancient Earlysville White Oak 

I'm thinking back to the day I was able to sit underneath and paint this tree. It probably saw General George Armstrong Custer during the Civil War, heading to battle over Rio Hill along Seminole Trail Road.

And what about all those trips Thomas Jefferson took up the Trial and over to visit his Montpelier friend, James Madison?  This tree knows a lot. 

This piece will be available in my upcoming show starting Oct. 13. 

From the Daily Progress, Oct. 12, 2008:
Taking a bough
Among the estimated 172 million trees in AlbemarleCounty, the Earlysville Oak is royalty.
It’s the second largest white oak (Quercus alba) in Virginia, and when it was first setting its roots the nation was just starting to grow as well. From its position near Earlysville Road it has seen oxen drawn wagons evolve into fume-belching vehicles, and then aircraft join the birds flying above its spreading crown.
The regal tree has seen the Rivanna Post Office come and go and, for generations, felt the grip of tiny hands climbing and clinging to its boughs. Now it stands alone in the approach lane to the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, a venerable symbol of the community’s love for this special tree.
“The story as I understand it is that they had to extend the apron of the airport’s runway, so the [Federal Aviation Administration] said the tree had to go,” said Robert Llewellyn, who as a professional photographer has been photographing Virginia’s landscape, as well as its people and historic places, for nearly 40 years.
“Then the community came together and said, ‘No, we want to save this tree,’ and for the moment, it is saved. It’s a unique tree. The base of it is flared, which is very unusual for an oak to have that much flare at the bottom.

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