Seasonal observations of an ever changing coastal landscape 
by Bold Bluff host Tamar Griggs 

Christmas at Bold Bluff

Date: 12/26/03
Time: 9:26:25 AM
Remote Name:


It is always with regret that I bring a tree into our home from the wild woods for a few weeks' pleasure to satisfy our Christmas traditions. I always apologize to the tree and give thanks, too, for it's sacrifice. More and more, it breaks my heart, but I still rationalize my brutal act by trying to find a tree that is "crowding" others, and hence by its untimely removal from the forest, it will improve the life of other standing trees. So this year, Todd and I hiked up the power line in back of our house, chose a glorious douglas fir that was crowding 2 other struggling trees, and sawed it down. It was smaller than many we have brought into our house, being a mere 10 feet high, easy to carry, and to fit inside our double doors in the lodge. Todd put it up and secured it to the rafters. Then I meticlously strung the tiny white lights on all its branches, and hung my childhood baubles, giving thanks for the fairy-tale beauty it magically brought into our home. The upright boughs bend down with the weight of the glass balls, and the whole tree looks utterly lovely. We had the fire burning in our air-tight stove, and by the end of the evening the poor tree had lost a pile of needles with the shock of coming inside. I resolved to keep the house cold until my daughter came home for the holidays. So THAT was a challenge! The livingroom, bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchen were positively freezing - and when I put on my long flannel nightgown at night, it was like getting into an icicle. (Normally, I heat up my nightie on the woodstove, turning it rapidly so it won't burn, and it is deliciously warm and cozy). But the magical tree lost no more needles due to my sacrifice. A few days before Christmas, I again went into the woods, to take fir, cedar, and salal from living trees, and to apologize to the giants for hurting them - ouch - snip-snip-cut-bleed - These I brought into the lodge, and up on a rickety ladder, I wound them around our giant wagon-wheel that is suspended from the high cedar ceilings by 3 giant chains. Then I hung our little silver bells representing each member of our diminutive family: Opa, Oma, my brother, my sister who died long ago, my daughter and me. And then up went the feathers: eagle, heron, crow, suspended from the spokes with nearly invisible black threads. It looks outrageously whimsical! The feathers turn slowly in the breeze. On Christmas Eve, all our Sansum Narrows neighbours came by boat for a warm gathering at Bold Bluff. Gary was "Captain of Christmas Eve" and fetched our neighbours with our sturdy, chubby boat from across the Narrows - a family with 7 children all in their twenties and home together for the first time in a year (one daughter arriving from Africa, another from Toronto and another from Hailfax) - and including boyfriends, made up a whopping 11. I hope they wore lifejackets! Other adventurous pioneering neighbours from across the Narrows arrived and our near neighbours on Salt Spring Island - with a total of 20 guests. We sipped hot apple cider and dined on chili, homemade focaccio bread, cheese and salads. Unfortunately, Aubrey, who played Santa at the Mayfair Mall this season, was a bit under the weather from all the exposure to the little munchkins who clammered onto his lap, and did not feel up to playing the piano and singing carols. But it was a good gathering and it is heartwarming to make connections to our neighbours who have chosen a rather eccentric lifelstyle without a road and many without electricity (on the Vancouver Island side). Did I ever feel sorry for every one of them, who had to go home by boat in the pitch dark pounding rain bundling up in improbable life jackets - and did I ever feel great that for ONCE I could stay home by the fire and not have to venture out in the boat at night to get home. I WAS home!

       Last changed: January 26, 2012