Wood Stacks and Stone Walls: The Calming Beauty of Simple Things

There is something solid, reassuring, and pleasurable in the simplest things we were once surrounded by. Natural things that took form from the feel of a man’s hand. (Or a woman’s.) I’d like to share with you some images from my recent return to the Baltic Island of Gotland, where several of the Saga books are set. Ancient stone walls crisscross the countryside, and are mended with care to maintain them. Firewood is stacked to dry by folk today just as their ancestors did.

There is beauty and sanity in such work. Sometimes we need a return to the comfort these things provide. Perhaps looking at what I came across will give you a few moments of pleasure, and welcome grounding.

Stacks with Milk Cans

Dairy farm with fire wood ready for Winter.

Long Wood Stack

Woodman’s pile. I liked this as it was shaped almost like a house.

Smaller Wood Dome

Circular dome of firewood. The shape helps the wood dry thoroughly.

Two Domed Wood Stacks

The same dome with its big brother. The giant one looks almost like a pine cone. Building these must have been a highly meditative act.

Kindling with standtun fence

Another domed pile, fronted by a traditional fence called a standtun.

Natural Hook

Natural wood hook outside a fishing hut. The red paint is traditional falun red, a copper based paint beloved by Swedes.

Natural Door Handle

Natural wood door handle on another fishing shack, worn smooth and pleasant to the touch.

Handle Blue Door

How great to sort through random branches and roots to find just the right shape for a door handle…

Stone walls that endure

The enduring beauty of a stone wall.

Fårö Stone Wall

High artistry on display in this stone wall on Fårö (the small island to the North of the larger island of Gotland). If the man who built this did nothing else, his life was well spent.

Hau Farm Stone Wall

A ribbon of stone to carry the eye and thoughts away.


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