April 2, 1917 April in Algonquin Park
A complete and miserable day today. The weather prevented me from going too far from the lodge. It was overcast and the spring winds were strong. It was unpleasant being out there for longer than a few moments. I bundled up as best I could, but when I was sketching my fingers got numb in the few minutes they were exposed and I had to warm them up about a dozen times before the sketch was finished.
The scene I chose wasn’t particularly inspiring. If I don’t motivate myself to go further afield, I’ll be destined to painting birches by the shore. If this goes on, I’ll begin to despise these trees. But then again, part of my plan was to paint the same scene over and over again as the season changes.
Truth be told, I’ve been here just over a week, and the novelty of change has begun to wear off. In fact, I thought I’d see changes, but everything and everyone is about the same as they were before. Shannon with his peculiar habits is beginning to wear on me, and Annie, bless her soul, is so caught up in her chores and keeping the place running the she has little presence to talk or keep company. The other guests are all consumptives, and I am little inclined to hear the repetitive detail of their condition. I am probably part of the problem too. I’ve been rather in a sulky mood the past couple of evenings. The other guests stay clear of me, and I think Annie takes it to heart that something is amiss.
I went out later in the morning and I finished my sketch in about forty minutes around noon.. Despite the clouds, it did clear up for a few moments. I saw the blue sky, and then the clouds moved back in. The sky darkened and my mood darkened too. I went back to the lodge and spent the better part of afternoon in my room reading and laying out some feathers I found yesterday to make some fishing flies.
I was thinking about some other things too. That I should write some letters to Winnie, my father and my brother in law, Tom Harkness. It’s Easter next weekend. I should go visit Winnie, but that would put too much of an interruption into my painting. Her parents are always happy to see me. But despite their welcoming gestures, I can see in their eyes some awkwardness and anxiety. They like me, but I don’t think they appreciate that my affections toward Winnie because it has dampened her enthusiasm for other men to marry. They’ve never said, but I don’t think they see me as the marrying type. I’m not sure if I disagree with their assessment. We never spoke about it when I was up there last Thanksgiving, but you could have written it all over the walls and it still wouldn’t be more obvious.
I’ll work on the flies this afternoon. I’ll try to write Winnie later today or tomorrow. If I write by Wednesday and post before noon, she gets the mail of Thursday. That would be before Good Friday. It would make her happy.