April 2, 1917
The day turned out be miserable for sketching. The rain makes it unpleasant, but it’s the wind that makes it unbearable. When it rains you can take shelter or fashion one to keep you dry. But you can’t do that with wind. It blows everything around. I bring clothespins to hold the board down, but it’s like picnicking on a windy day – one moment of lapsed vigilance and your meal is strewn around on the ground.
Today’s scene wasn’t inspiring. If I don’t motivate myself to go further afield, I’ll be destined to painting nothing but birches by the shore. I might begin to despise these trees. But then again, part of my plan was to paint the same scenes over and over as the season changes.
Here in the Park, the seasons are changing. But what is constant is Shannon and Annie. Shannon still has his peculiar habits and misplaced enthusiasm. He likes milking the cows (when he feels like it. It’s usually Annie) while wearing his tie and fedora. Annie, bless her soul, is so caught up in her chores and keeping the place running that she has little presence to talk about anything that isn’t a pressing household issue: laundry, ironing, making sure that a bear doesn’t get into the root cellar. She’s on constant vigil to keep the guests comfortable. I’m sure Shannon and Annie talk about me but that’s done behind closed doors and out of earshot. I’ve been in a poor mood the past few days. They must have said something, because the guests are politely steering clear of me.
Last night, I wrote a letter to Winnie. To ensure my letter was properly posted I went to Canoe Lake Station with Shannon in his sled. I put my letter in the mail bag as it went on the train. That was the only way I could be assured that my letter would not raise unnecessary curiosities or be intercepted by Mowat P.O. (Annie). Winnie should get my letter by Thursday. That’s before Good Friday. That should make her happy.
I brought along my sketch box. I bid Shannon adieu and I walked back to find a place to sketch. I saw some gulls flying about, and ducks sitting on the ice’s edge by open water. The birds are coming back, and I can hear them singing too. The spring winds are kicking up. Part of my kit began to blow away in the wind, and after I fetched a brush and a rag that blew away I finished my sketch in about 25 minutes. I got back to Mowat Lodge before noon.
In the afternoon, I read upstairs in my room. I laid out to dry, on my dresser, some feathers I found this morning and had put in my pocket. I plan to use them to make fishing flies.
I should write some more letters. One to my father and another my brother in law, Tom Harkness. It’s Easter next weekend. I also thought I should go visit Winnie, but that would interrupt my painting. Her parents are always happy to see me. But the last time, I could see in their eyes some awkwardness and anxiety. They like me, but I’m sure they don’t appreciate my affections toward Winnie if it doesn’t result in marriage. They’ve never said anything, but I don’t think they see me as the marrying type. I don’t disagree but it’s not a topic to be brought up over a Thanksgiving dinner. I could see it written it all over their faces, that they’ve concluded I’m not a marrying man. That’s probably the real reason I don’t want to visit Winnie at her parents’.
I saw the headline in the paper today: President Wilson has asked US Congress to declare war on Germany.