Today, as I write this, is Emily Carr’s 145th birthday. I thought I’d recognize the day with this photo of my back yard, and my favourite Emily Quotation. This quotation always reminds me of this little spot of west coast forest that I call home. There have been many times over the years I’ve lived here, on those quiet summer days when nothing moves, and those wild winter days when everything dances, that I’ve stood and marveled at the power of the natural world to keep on pushing, pushing, pushing, as Emily says, through whatever we might throw at it. While maybe you can’t see the growth and expansion, if you allow yourself you can feel it – it’s an energy that imposes itself, that settles on your skin and resonates in every breath you take.
For me, Emily captures that energy and illuminates it. Her paintings and her writings reflect the essence of this place and we are all richer because of the legacy she’s left us. Her life, as well, is a fascinating story of passion, dedication and perseverance that adds so much to the rich and vibrant history of this area. Those of us who live on southern Vancouver Island are so fortunate that her work and her life still permeates through our communities, a true local legend.
Do yourself a favour and spend a little time with Emily, to celebrate her birthday. You can find her work at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (online at: http://aggv.ca/collection/emily-carr), or better yet visit the Gallery or visit Emily’s childhood home (now called Emily Carr House), protected as a historic site and open daily at 207 Government Street in Victoria.
And for a closer, my favourite Emily painting (Forest, British Columbia):