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What gives us inspiration?

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My husband is naturally creative. He took this picture of these skeletal remains that he found in a cave in what was once called  the Queen Charlotte Islands. The group of islands is now called Haida Gwaii. His job was to work off a boat for many years as a West Coast Urchin diver. He has intimate knowlege of not only the landscape underneath the ocean but in many of the inlets around the BC coast. This picture has inspired him to create many works of art. And I wonder why? What is it about these skulls that inspire him to paint and carve? I think it is the mystery of who these bones belonged to. We think it was shipwrecked sailors that crawled into the cave to huddle together for protection. Doing a bit of research about the ships that passed through the region, it may have been a ship full of traders looking for sea otter pelts. I also discovered that a ship full of gold prospectors were held ransom by the Haida people, perhaps these two had escaped?

My husband has painted a small canvas of one of these skulls and has also hand carved a mirror with tiny skulls around it. And now I am inspired to write about them. I imagine these two were Englishmen who had left London at an early age for an adventurous life at sea. Perhaps one of them had a wife and children left back at home. I can sympathize with this unknown fish wife, waiting and worrying. I imagine her sitting, worn out after a day of housework and settling the kids to bed, putting on a kettle for tea, alone with her thoughts at night. I know what it is like to lay awake at night wondering if your diver husband is safe through a gale or tsunami warning.  In our modern era, although our means of communication are much improved, our sense of missing our loved ones remains the same. I only hope that if these sailors did have anyone left yearning for them, that they were grateful that they had their love for the amount of time that they did. And that the memory of this love was enough to make the pain of losing them worth the pain of never having them return.

haida gwaii

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