Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The bones of Mosquito

We arrived at the abandoned community of Mosquito on Great Colinet Island after leaving Wild Cove earlier Sunday morning.  We had only been on the water about an hour and less than an hour from the take-out so we had lots of time and stopped for a look around.

About all that's left in Newfoundland's abandoned communities are stone foundations and headstones in graveyards.  This lonely weathered dead tree trunk was the first thing that caught my eye as I made my way to the cemetery at the top of the hill.

It looked like a woman turning to wave good-bye.

Further along I spotted this planting of narcissus.  They are not native so someone planted them here to admire.  I wondered who.  Maybe they were planted in front of a kitchen window to brighten the view for the matron of the house as she washed dishes.  Now, they are left to grow alone amidst the grasses forgotten by the gardener who has moved on.

A concrete foundation also lay in the grass.  Did a house stand at this location?  If so, did it resound with the laughter of children?  Did it ache with the passing of a mother or father?  Who knows?  All that's left are faded memories.

Here stands the entrance to Mosquito's graveyard, the repository of the former community's history as told by the names on the grave markers.  The cobbles imbedded in the posts still wore their colours of red and green.

They stand here now as two isolated sentinals that once bore witness to parades of mourners as they carried the remains of their loved ones to their final resting place.

One cold day in January 1898 Patrick Linehan helped carry his beloved wife through the gate and laid her to rest.  Its not that difficult to conceive of a group of mourners standing around the grave with breaking hearts and tears falling as people still do today at the passing of a loved one.

 Mary Linehan was buried more than a hundred years ago.  A hundred years is nothing in the grand scheme of things.  The people of Mosquito moved on and trees grew in the untended graveyard.

 And trees blew over.

Walking down from the graveyard these two trees overlooking Colinet Passage caught my eye.  Two trees standing in a wide open field where once a thriving community lived.  In 1921 the population stood at 45 in 11 households.  By 1945 the population had grown to 70 souls.  In the early 1960's the community was resettled off of the island and people moved to other existing communities on the mainland.

The flesh has been stripped off of Mosquito as in so many other Newfoundland resettled communities.  All that remains are the bones.  So much dust in the wind.

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