Snowed-in at Christmastime in their Blue Castle. Valancy can think of no better way to spend this beautiful holy day than being safe in seclusion with the one that she loves the most in the home of her white wilderness dreams. The main room of the cabin is decorated with real pine boughs that Barney had cut during one of his early morning hikes in the nearby woods. Their scent fills the room with a rich open air appeal. Valancy had used two old red scarves to cut into ribbons and tied into bows that hung on the mantle and over each window. They worked together one evening after dinner to make a wreath for the door using fresh holly branches of red and green and one of Valancy's hair ribbons that she no longer used since her hair was cut short. They had each brought something into the festive atmosphere and together, they made it their own.

The last decoration was a surprise that they found during a special morning walk through the woods. They got up before dawn to watch the winter solstice sunrise together.

"There are no words to describe the beauty of the rising sunlight across the icy expanse of Lake Mistawis." Valancy muses aloud breaking the quiet sound of the snow crunching beneath their footsteps.

"Feeling the call of a new arrival, the sun gives new hope as it returns in full glory to fend off the night. Nature responds in the glistening reflections of it's captive frozen waters while pure white pines reach towards the fading stars." Barney says his dreamlike thoughts aloud.

Valancy giggles.

"Blast it, my lady. Don't even say what you are thinking. I already know what it is."

"Only that you could give...my favorite author a run for his money saying something like that. I know it's not your forte and that you just said all those enchanting words to prove me wrong, quite successfully too. There is beauty in the truth of what you have said, my woodland elf."

"She compliments me beyond measure then chides me with a pet name like that." Barney comments as he broadens the space between them and picks up his pace.

"Thank you for inviting me to share this moment in nature's time." Valancy stops to emphasize her sincerity.

Barney returns to her side. He looks down into her eyes and then lightly places his gloved hands on her flushed red cheeks.

"You are the first and perhaps only one to share this simple annual tradition with me. Are you warm enough out here?"

She takes his hands from her face and enfolds them in her warm woolen mitten ones.

"I am warm enough now."

Barney looks away. She follows in the direction of his stare.

"Oh Barney, look at that!"

The sheer weight of the snow had brought a weak pine down.

"The drifts were just too much for this old man White Spruce."

"Listen." Valancy takes hold of her husband's arm. "I know that we have discussed this before and how you feel about cutting down a healthy tree for seasonal decoration but—"

"No. It's far too big to fit in our cabin."

"I know that. The top could be taken off and used. It's just right for our home."

"This tree should be left alone to die with it's dignity in the solitude of the woods, not put on display like a dime store attraction for—"

"Oh, it won't be. I'll see to that myself. Please, it will be an honorable farewell to the fallen fellow."

Barney crossed his arms and tapped his boot in the snow. His grin is telling Valancy that she has him already on this matter. He turns and walks further down the way. Valancy put her hands on her hips. Providence has presented this tree just for them and she wasn't going to turn down any gift at this time of the year. After all, it might be her last Christmas to celebrate in this life. She marches over to the tree, snow crackling beneath her every step. She pauses to size up the right portion and then places her foot on the small section of trunk which would make the tree just the right height for their front room. She takes a hold of the top with both hands and tries to snap the trunk beneath her foot. Bits of snow catapulted into her face as she heard the trunk snap without giving full way to the break. Barney laughs as he returns to help her for she has made it clear how much she wants this for their Christmas tree.

They return home with Barney keeping one arm over his victorious companion's shoulder and his other arm dragging this broken remnant of a snow fallen pine.