Arbour ardour

Much work against

the grain has lent

a bite so spent and worn.

Yet spits again

sweet dust and then

fuel for the fire is formed.


My husband spends many an hour harvesting wood for our wood burner. He will not fell a living healthy tree, but rather transforms what is already diseased or fallen into logs to heat our home. He has a deep respect and love for both trees and the wood – he tracks the grain with his fingertips and breathes in deeply the fragrance exposed by the rending of a trunk.

The chainsaw is a powerful tool, and it needs maintaining to keep it sharp and effective. Oil lubricates the action, and the occasional attentions of a sharpener hone the teeth. It’s use can seem a brutal reduction of a once majestic structure, and yet it is a process that re-purposes, and so honours, all it has to give.

Sometimes I hope that cutting across the way of things, when the sap has secretly stopped flowing, will eventually be seen to change and re-invigorate a structure I have much loved and respected.

And new shoots may be discovered in the spring season, arcing up from the old stump.