A View From The Ridge
By Cheryl Gallant
Firsts are always memorable…for any number of reasons. First date, first car, first home…the list goes on. Although the farm in Cape Breton was not our first home together, the Christmas of 1999 brought its own memorable “firsts.”
We arrived on the fifteenth of November and immersed ourselves in the most pressing task at hand – finding the Christmas decorations. Our hearts were sore from tear-filled goodbyes and the prospect of a holiday without our kids and grandkids, so we set about filling our little house with familiar sights, sounds and smells of Christmas as balm for our battered souls.
We looped cedar rope along the fence in front of the house and crowned each post with a brilliant red bow. We gathered fresh pine and spruce and hung heirloom ornaments from the boughs, filling the air with both scent and sensibility. Music brought warm recollection of the joys of Christmas past…and then a dilemma arose.
Our old farmhouse in Ontario, with its lofty ceilings and generous square footage, had accommodated whatever outsized tree took our fancy, but the tiny rooms in our new space, already crowded with too-big furniture, left us, shall we say, challenged. We tried every imaginable configuration for couches and chairs, to no avail. And then it came to me. Just inside the living room was a door, kept closed in winter, which led to a tiny, unused entrance. If we could find a very small tree…
An hour later, cheeks flushed from a quick excursion into our woods, we snipped the branches from one side of a four foot tree to make it flat, hung it from a hook on the closed door, and wrapped the trunk in a baggie filled with forest moss and a bit of water. The branches were too small to hold some of our heavier ornaments, but we had a tree! It glittered and shone as brightly as any tree from the past, and more importantly, as we sat admiring it in otherwise total darkness, it brought us what we wish for all of you – comfort and joy.
The basket of root vegetables on the porch? Well, that’s another story.