I decided not to start another but to continue my canvas from before Christmas. It was still on the easel. I thought it was finished but when I studied it again in the morning, it needed more work.
As Elizabeth had warned me, my vegetables and potatoes did freeze. I had fashioned a root cellar in the wood shed but I didn’t dig it deep enough for this cold weather. Not all was lost, a good portion underneath didn’t freeze, but if this cold keeps up I will have to transfer the whole lot inside. I’ll make a stew from the ones that froze and no one will ever know the difference.
I took the train back to Toronto today. Father wanted me to stay a few days longer but I said I need to get back. I could have stayed as I’m not on a company time card, but I did not want to have Father’s disappointing gaze lingering on my any longer. To be sure, he loves me, but he is insistent that I consider joining the War Effort. I told him in no short order, that after Somme, if he wanted to lose another son before the year was out, my going overseas would be the best. I could see my Mother wringing her hands in the kitchen as we spoke. She did not want to lose another son. One was already enough.
I arrived at Union Station in the early evening. Recruiters were everywhere. A marching band with signs ‘Free trip to Europe’. Outside there was a streetcar where you could step right in and sign your life away. I walked up Yonge Street. It’s about 2 miles to the shack on Severn. I could have taken the street car but after being on the train I wanted to be away from people. At night I like to walk and look at the stars. With more electric bulbs it’s harder and harder to make
out the stars. The clouds from the coal fires make it hard to see the night sky too.
When I arrived the door to the Shack and the wood shed were frozen shut. The snow had drifted against the wall, melted, then frozen again. I managed to get the wood shed door open and used a old miner’s pick to chip away the ice. Inside, all was as I had left it, except everything was frozen solid. I set the stove alight and now near midnight most of the chill is gone. I don’t mind the chill so long as I have a good cover on me when I sleep. Tomorrow, I plan to start another canvas. I’m not sure which, but I plan to sort through my boards to find something that will catch my eye for painting.