The Big Tree at Goose Island State Park, which is more than 1,000 years old, came through Harvey – what is being called a “500-year storm” for its rarity – relatively unscathed, even as younger trees fell victim to the storm, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced on Sunday.
According to the parks department, the tree has a circumference of more than 35 feet with an average diameter of more than 11 feet. At its peak it stands 44 feet tall, but in a 2011 profile, the Houston Chronicle’s Andrew Dansby said it is that girth, rather than the height that is truly impressive.
The Big Tree possesses a complicated beauty. A coastal live oak legendary for its age – believed to be well in excess of 1,000 years – it impresses with its girth rather than its height: The trunk’s circumference is more than 35 feet. Its branches extend gracefully outward like the fingers of an old guitarist, and its 90-foot canopy has an elegant arc.
But the tree also is gnarled and scarred. Some branches appear to have fallen naturally years ago, and bark curls over the wounds, giving the knots the appearance of swollen eyes. Other limbs were felled by saws. Large metal beams support some of the lower branches, and some interior parts of tree have been slathered in concrete. The tree inspires both awe and melancholy.
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