Tannery Hoose Windae #8: harvest from Storm Arwen

Storm Arwen ravaged many parts of Scotland and elsewhere in the British Isles. Like all storms, a harvest of wood follows, once we’ve cleaned up, restored electricity and mourned the sad deaths.


It’s a strange human thing, to seek out the profit from disaster, pick the small victories after Nature’s force has beaten us. Tolkein’s mythical elven princess, Arwen, from The Lord of the Rings would never have chosen to do what Storm Arwen did: destroy human life and disrupt human living. She was an immortal, over 2,700 years old when she met Aragon, and, in a Christ-like turn, gave up her eternal status to marry the human Aragon. Not at all a destructive force, except that maybe she destroyed herself for something fleeting. The destruction in Mount Doom feels more like what this storm wrought. (I’m not a fan of the Ring books by Tolkein; I tried to read The Hobbit when I was eleven, but just hated it. Loved the films, but.)

Storm Arwen harvest

Like many people after Storm Arwen, I’ve been scouting about for wood to fetch and cut and store for future burning. This wee log is part of my first haul, the only one that would fit in the Tannery Hoose Windae. I love the way the colours work with the rust metal plate at the back of it, how the down pipe and the wall are as ragged and worn as the wood looks. Beautiful.

The log is from a small branch of an old birch, home to lichen and birds and all sorts of beasties. After decades of slow growth, the storm brought it crashing down. In a couple of years, once it’s seasoned and then been cut and then been stacked and dried, it’ll feed my wood-burning stove, perhaps on a night like the one Storm Arwen came,

It’s an ill wind…