Tree Truck

Chapter Forty-four        Alder

Tree Trunk, oil, 1936, 129.1 x 56.3 cm. Location: Vancouver Art Gallery, VAG 42.3.2. © Vancouver Art Gallery

"On that pile of papers on the mantel is a review of the new National Gallery show from the Ottawa Citizen. Read the fourth paragraph."

Alice looked at the photograph of Indian Church printed in the article and handed it to Lizzie. Emily turned to face her. She knew it would spark a reaction, and she didn't want to miss one twitch of it.

"Emily Carr from British Columbia is at her best when working on a big scale. Her inspiration is derived from the forest which she opens to us with the intimacy of a lover to probe its inner recesses. Her trees are menacing phallic giants, their foliage dark feminine openings.

Millie, how could you want us to read this, this trash?" Lizzie's voice rose to a squeak.

Lizzie's moral brown eyes darted from Alice to her, and the thin blue skin under them tightened. Poor, dear Lizzie. Even if she explained, Lizzie could never understand how she had experienced a sort of consummation in the wilderness, or how she could make love to the universe by painting. It would mystify her because her God had not blessed her with an imaginative mind.

"Frubbish. One man's opinion. My trees aren't menacing. Go on." She turned back and smiled into the sink.