Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In the Birch's Shadow

The old white birch could be anywhere but it is not. Apparently it was a significant tree almost 100 years ago - if I have my facts right. The fact that the birch is still standing is a bit of a miracle for birches. Frankly I find it hard to believe that a birch can live that long. Just perhaps it only dates from 1956 when Judge William T. Little located Tom's grave "about twenty feet north of the cemetery fence". This birch is described in Little's book. The fencing around the Mowat Cemetery has not done nearly as well. Anything man-made is fleeting - just like this painting.
Regardless, the midday shadow of the old birch points to the resting place of one of Canada's most talented artists. His craft and artistry spoke volumes and does not need any mystery to keep his legend alive. The real tragedy is that Tom was on the verge of creating more spectacular works of Canadian that we can only wonder about. Tom still lies at Mowat and the site is a touch-stone for many Canadians.

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