Tanoo, Queen Charlotte Islands

Chapter Twenty-six         Moss

"Eeyaa aa mee," Clara whispered. "There used to be two rows of houses. Gone. All gone..."

Someday what she saw would be gone too, swallowed up by rain forest. And she, gone too. The ruins and looming forest made for melancholy thoughts. She was overcome with the need to leave proof that she had been here, had seen the touch of man on this far-flung place...

Tanoo, Queen Charlotte Islands, oil on canvas, 1913, 110.5 x 170.8 cm, BC Archives.
Public Domain/Copyright

William took Clara's hand and led her away from where Emily was working. She watched them step into a mossy house pit and sit together where a family fire might have been. Clara tipped her head onto his shoulder...

Her painting of the houses would be a memorial to loving families, done with Impressionist colors--dove gray for the house planks, with washes of aqua, rose and lavender. Their softness would express what she'd never experienced--that home could be the center of the affections, the dearest spot on earth for those who had been born there, had shared and grown large and unselfish with love, had worked together and rested from storm together, had wept with loss and died there.