April 4, 1917 Winter Scene
During this time of year at Canoe Lake you never know what the day is going to be like. One day it’s like spring, the other, like winter. Today it feels like winter today and the snow’s not going anywhere.
I walked along the shore to the southern part of the lake, where Canoe Lake goes into Tea Lake. I passed by Gill Lake where there is good fishing. Toward Tea Lake, the faster running water in the narrow channel was breaking up some of the ice so it made for a nice scene. The spruces and hemlocks in front of the rest of the bush made for a nice contrast. Another good sketch today.
In the bush, it’s still snow everywhere. As I was painting, I was surprised to have a midge land in the paint on my palette. I had a small dab of cadmium yellow to mix in with other colours, and this midge went straight for it. I fished it out with my palette knife, still in disbelief that I was seeing such a thing so early in the season. But there must have been a small pool of shallow water, warmed up by the sum. Or it could have arrived via a moose; there were a few around in the locality. Despite its heroic early spring debut, the midge was not going to be part of my sketch. I removed it.
I was back by Mowat Lodge by lunch time. Shannon was cursing because the cistern pump in the back was broken. I told him that Lowrie was pretty handy at fixing those things and I could go up to his cabin in the afternoon.
At dinner, Shannon said he had an important announcement to make. He received a message from George Bartlett [Park Superintendent] that Mark Robinson would be returning to Canoe Lake sometime this April. I was pleased to hear this news. Mark was a Park Ranger when I met him first in 1912 and we had become good friends. He’s older than me, married with twin daughters and a son. I was shocked when he enlisted. He said he had the call of duty to go. I respected his decision. I told him I wasn’t about to try to enlist again. I had other things to do in life. Bartlett told Shannon that Mark got some shrapnel in the hip, recuperated in England, and because of his age, they didn’t want him back on the front so they sent him home. Bartlett had promised his old post when he came back. So he’ll be back at the shelter house by Joe Lake Station.
Shannon said that he also received a letter from Charlie Scrim of Ottawa and he would be arriving on Easter Sunday. Charlie is a consumptive, though not as bad as the other ones. His family has a florist business in Ottawa, and they send him here during the spring and summer months. Charlie and I are good friends. Last summer we spent a lot of time canoeing and fishing together.
Shannon made his final announcement, “We’ll be having two more guests – Lt. Robert Crombie, and his newly-wed wife, Daphne. From what I understand, she’s a pretty young thing.” Shannon looked at me and and gave that same grin when he’s losing a board game,
“Tom, we’re expecting you to be on your best behaviour.”