Ode to an Oak
Last month, the Salem Oak, the tallest white oak tree in New Jersey, toppled within the grounds of Salem Friends Meeting. In its honor, Meeting member Jessica Waddington wrote this obituary of the beloved county landmark. On Thursday, June 6 at around 6:00 in the evening, the stately Salem Oak lay down, after standing tall for an estimated 600 years. She was at home, in the Salem Friends Burial Ground on Broadway, in the small historic town of Salem, N.J. She had battled time, gravity, and Mother Nature for several hundred years, losing several limbs and requiring a great deal of care, before finally succumbing. She was surrounded by her descendants, the town that loved her, and a few hundred deceased Friends, all of whom benefited from her stately bearing, her ongoing endurance, and her deep roots that preceded not only the birth of this nation, but the European settlement of its lands.