The Grandmother Tree is a live oak estimated to be between 800 and 1100 years old. The live oak (Quercus virginiana) is the principal evergreen oak in south Carolina. Although it is adapted to all of South Carolina, it favors conditions along the coast, where it grows wild. Grandmother provides food, shade and comfort to a multitude of creatures.
Wilderness Swamp Sanctuary
Swamps are characterized by rich biodiveristy and specialized organisms. They feature trees such as the Bald Cypress and Water Tupelo which are adapted to growing in standing water. Bald Cypress trees have 'knees' that grow from their roots and stick up out of the water. Animals like white-tailed deer, raccoons, anhingas, pileated woodpeckers, egrets, herons, alligators, fros, turtles and snakes are often found in South Carolina swamps.
Labyrinths help the user achieve a contemplative state. By walking among the turnings, the user loses track of direction and quiets the mind. The result is a relaxed mental attitude, free of internal dialog. This is a form of meditation.
In 1858, a 14-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubirous claimed a beautiful lady appeared to her in the remote Grotto of Massabielle in France. The lady later identified herself to Bernadette as the 'Immaculate Conception' and millions believe her to be the blessed Virgin Mary. This miracle is depicted in statuary at the Grotto site.
Although it was known that there were several marked gravesites along a rise near the swamp area of Springbank, recently more than fifty unmarked sites were discovered. It is believed that the graves belong to African American slaves, workers and family members from the 18th and 19th centuries who lived on the original plantation. the staff and friends of Springbank continue to work to restore the site to a place of special remembrance.
From the ancient Egyptians to Stonehenge to Big Horn Country, WY, medicine wheels have been used by indigenous people to contemplate the nature of life. To Native Americans the wheel represents the 'sacred hoop' or circle of all life. Study of the Wheel can provide answers to the nature of life and relationships to all of Creation.
Celtic Tree and Circle of Trees
To the Celts, the tree was a source of basic sustenance - a bearer of food, a provider of shelter and fuel for cooking and warmth. Without trees, life would have been extraordinarily difficult. In Celtic creation stories, trees were the ancestors of humankind, elder beings of wisdom. Sue Monk Kidd makes reference to this 'Circle of Trees' in her book Dance of the Dissident Daughter.