When the cutting apart of the London Grove Friends Meeting’s White Oak began on Monday October 23, 2023, the reality of her loss finally settled in for those present at this event.
Our London Grove Oak fell over on September 19 and lay in regal gentleness since then. She had been present on Meetinghouse grounds since at least 1682, when William Penn had come to visit. She was a community symbol and her death brought visits from many in the area who shared memories of their connection with her.
Even though she fell over, her presence was still present at the meeting and her 50-ton body emitted a sweet flower-like fragrance, much like that said to be emitted when an enlightened being leaves their body.
The Cutting Brings Closure
The wood-loving folks at the local Chadds Ford Tree Service came in to do the initial cutting and removal, which will be completed by Hearne Hardwoods Inc by this Friday. CFTS was as kind as could be, wanting to cut the wood to the specifications we provided. They’ve been in business, in this wooded area, for over 35 years, the father now joined by sons and daughters. They brought in massive machines to do the cutting and hauling.
As that necessary cutting began, a colleague and I looked at each other, feeling the same heart’s pain as the reality of the end of our beloved tree was profoundly felt.
The process of cutting has been overshadowed by questions as to exactly how much wood we had to work with. Our tree died from root rot – a condition white oaks are prone to. We have not been sure how much of the wood we could distribute, for crafts and education, as there was decay at top and bottom. The good news is the top was cut off yesterday, revealing healthy wood. Cutting the massive 7′ diameter base will take place the end of this week, with that condition a wood secret until then.
Making Wood Available to All
Once the condition of the wood is known, and it is moved into storage, the Meeting is accepting requests for the wood for special projects. The wood itself is being provided free of charge, to accepted applicants, but sawing/milling/planing of the wood must either be done by the recipient or will incur a labor charge.
We have separated the wood into two sizes – less than 12″ diameter (larger sizes may require a year’s curing before use) and the very large logs and trunk (which is estimated to need 3 to 4 years of curing, before final cutting and receipt of the wood). If you know of craftspeople or educators interested in the wood, you can email LondonGroveOak@gmail.com for an application form.
The public is invited to pick up the smaller pieces of wood, mulch, and/or one of the c 3′ boules (wood with bark still present) on Saturday Nov 4 10-3 and Sunday Nov 5 12-4. These small pieces will not be available after that weekend. The Meetinghouse is located at 500 W Street Rd, Kennett Square, PA 19348