April 29, 1917
Today is Sunday, a day of rest. Or it is supposed to be a day of rest. Sunday doesn’t make too much of difference to me, except I notice that everyone is a little better-smelling and cleaner from the Saturday night baths.
The walking paths are drying up. That means the women are getting a little more adventuresome in their walks, especially Daphne Crombie. She convinced Annie to go for a walk up to Hotel Algonquin for a 11 a.m. lay service that Ed Colson was holding for the guests. Ed is a former Sunday school teacher and a lay preacher. He said that if anyone ever needed to be married or buried in Mowat Village, he was the one to provide the service. Trouble is that the population of Mowat Village is hard pressed to support a marriage (you need at least two people). As for burial, you never know when you’ll need someone for a ceremony. 8 year-old Alexander Hayhurst passed away in 1915. He died of diptheria. Molly Colson, when she was still working at the Highland Inn, came by a couple of times to tend to his illness, and it was Ed who ultimately committed Alexander’s soul to God and his earthly remains to the Cemetery up on the hill.
I was sketching from a knoll overlooking Potter Creek. The ice was out near the shore and around to Joe Lake Dam. There is still lots of ice in Canoe Lake: it is not officially iced-out, according to our criteria established a few days ago). I had a nice view of Lowrie Dickson’s shack. It is close the shore. The birches are submerged in the high water which is less than two feet from his door.
As I was sketching, lo and behold, who strolls into view? Annie and Daphne in their Sunday best. Annie had a red coat and a pink hat on, and Daphne had on her blue coat and white hat. I shouted for them to stop. I raised my paintbrush and they knew exactly why I issued the order. They stopped to be my studies and enjoy the view. I mixed up the colours of their coats and painted their figures. It can take me an hour to paint a single tree, but it took me less than a minute to paint two women into my sketch.
When I was done, I waved my hand and let them on their way. I was pleased with the sketch. With the strength of the sun now, the leaves will be coming out soon. The trees are looking less like skeletons and more like living things. The stripped canopies are returning to a body of green. The buds are getting ready, ready to explode into leaves. And then one day, unannounced, spring will be no more.