As we drove west out of Thunder Bay, Ontario across the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield I found myself thinking of the places that anchor us. We are traveling across Western Ontario to go visit Chris's Dad, who relocated here after retirement. Chris spent a good chunk of his childhood in Thunder Bay, but has only been back three times since he left as child. We drove the girls past his childhood home, pointed out to them the corner store he used to spend his money on candy and baseball cards at. As we drove he shared stories of bear sightings, sauna & lake dipping, cadet campouts on rocky islands. Some of these stories were familiar, others were new prompted by the reminder provided by the landscape.
Chris's Dad and Step-mom relocated to Emo after decades near Toronto drawn back to the familiar geography of her childhood. Her siblings, nieces and nephews are there. The area feels remote, a small community west of town of 10,000, north of International Falls, Minnesota. It is beautiful lake country. Yet as much as I was blown away by the beauty, my mind whirls with the complicated travel scheme necessary to get here from Puerto Rico. It was then that it sunk in how even 20 years after I moved away, Puerto Rico is still my anchor, the center I circle around.
I am thankful for how frequently I get to Puerto Rico, how familiar our kids are with the geography of my heart. That they see the mountains, and sea of Puerto Rico as their second home.
I am eager to take my girls back to Alberta to see big sky, and the expansive prairie where they spent the early years of their childhood. What memories if any will it trigger for them? Rochester undeniably is their hometown now, but what do they remember from those early years?
|The old Thunder Bay house|