Goose Island State Park

Picture of "Big Tree"

That’s “Big Tree”, a big tree at Goose Island State Park in Lamar, TX. Supposedly it’s the biggest live oak tree in the state. It’s not hard to believe, though it’s the kind of thing that weird small towns in Texas concoct all the time. And Lamar, TX definitely counts as one of those.

The picture is all foggy because the camera had just emerged from the air-conditioned van into the intense humidity there, just a couple hundred yards from the giant bathtub that’s the Gulf of Mexico. The landscape around Big Tree is pretty surreal, and I’m told the tree is strongly reminiscent of the “Whomping Willow” from the Harry Potter books. In fact all of Lamar (which is not to describe a very large area of course) seems to be in the grip of a live oak plague.

Picture of sunflowers The state park includes a little spit of land projecting out into Aransas Bay. Dead shellfish and plant material tend to wash up along part of the beach there, so the same creative fire that named the tree has branded that area “Stinky Beach.” It’s actually very pretty in an odd way.

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