Returning to the place of one’s birth…

is an interesting experience. I keep expecting to be surprised at the changes to the place (yes, cities do tend to change, even in four months), and I do sort register thoughts like “oh, that wasn’t there before,” but mostly everything is familiar. I find myself falling into the same sorts of rhythms of moving about the city. After 24 years, I can do it with my eyes closed (handy if one has been somewhat sleep deprived over the last two weeks), or preoccupied by a book (a remarkable skill, reading whilst walking: it’s the only sport at which I’ll ever be any good).

Even if I’m away from the place for a decade, and most of the buildings change, and all the streets remarkably become two-way, I think I’ll still know my way around. Unless the “grid” of the city changes in a big way, the memory of the last 24 years is going to assert itself. Then I’ll be able to tell meandering stories of how everything looked in “my day.”

17 January 2010 ~ St. Catharines

(I put “grid” in quotation marks because, while it has a grid, it’s bizarrely diagonal. Because they built the city according to the water moves in the several canals, to and from the Great Lakes. Also, they built suburbs based on shanty towns the canal workers planted as they went along. It’s a strange layout.)

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