Book of the Week #52

A Barn in New England: Making a Home on Three Acres by Joseph Monninger (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2001)

How does a 6,000 square foot barn become a home? In the hands of NH author Joseph Monninger and his family it took a lot of work and more than a little poetry. This book takes you along on the journey.

In honor of the season, here is an excerpt:

"Back at the barn, we carried the tree inside and hoisted it up into the southwest corner, the luckiest place to have a tree, we'd read. Pine scent filled the keeping room. The tree's top just brushed the rafters, which signified that it stood a bit more than fourteen feet. It grabbed the entire wall next to the bank of southern windows. Driving home, we would see the lights through the windows. Christmas lights reflected against the glass. The tree branches stretched as big around as a Volkswagen.
I made a fire in the hearth while Wendy tended the coal stove. Then we decorated for the rest of the night, marveling over each rediscovered set of lights, each fondly remembered ornament. Pie jumped around and nearly broke a thousand lights, but we managed to get him calmed down enough to work with us. In time the tree began to glisten. Bright red and blue balls, green pyramids, bubble tubes, clothespin reindeer dangled from the boughs. The tree remained as fragrant as a forest. To reach inside it, to hang a bulb, reminded us of where the tree had been earlier in the evening. We found a nest in one of the branches, old and dried now, but we carried it carefully to our specimen case and placed it beside others we had found over the year.
Pie ran around and flicked off the lamps before we lit the tree for the first time. When we counted to three, Wendy plugged in the string of lights and our tree became a Christmas tree. Lights ran back and forth through the branches, all the way up to the ceiling. No tinsel. Bulbs--some from my childhood--dangled from the boughs. I had never dreamed of having such a large tree inside a house--it was twice, maybe three times the size of the largest tree I'd ever had. It rose to Pie's window, peeked inside it. We stared at it for a long time, first examining it, then letting it seep into our senses. My forty-fifth Christmas tree, I thought. Pie's paper angel, made in first grade, sat atop the peak." (p. 253-4)

No comments: