Although drawn as ghostly foreshadowing, this particular grove of second growth fir trees thrives on Thetis Island, one of the jewels of the Salish Sea, otherwise known as the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Selective logging of the land had first taken place circa 1890.¹
In some sense these trees have become my companions during our almost forty years’ relationship: I stand amongst them, look up into their majesty, and feel their immensity. I watch as the squirrels scurry up their trunks then jump from branch to branch. I see them blowing and twisting in gale-force winds, find their dropped cones and see them standing mutely, laden with snow.
I take comfort from them as my eyes embrace their bark and boughs and my pencils describe them onto rag paper in the dappled sunlight. I can relate to Emily Carr’s descriptive passage as she worked her own coastal giants:
The sun is penetrating through the woods now. The green grey is coldly lit. How solemn they look, more grey than green, a quiet spiritual grey, blatant gaudiness of colours swallowed, only beautiful carrying power of grey, lifting into mystery.²
In my 2015 projection however, I am aware that the time may be nigh when Carr’s “lifting into mystery,” is painfully translated by the forestry sector to “descending into newsprint pulp,” as expressed by my addition of magazine and newspaper collage elements, leaving only their tree ghosts to the “carrying power of grey.”
1. Kelsey, Sheila. The Lives Behind the Headstones. Compiled and Edited, 1993, p. 3&4. Printed and bound in Canada.
2. Carr. Emily: Hundreds and Thousands: the Journals of an Artist. 1986, p. 195. Irwin Publishing, Toronto, Canada.