The pull of place
on frayed strings
attached to faded memories
and beating hearts
gnawed upon by time
and childhood traumas
holds strong
even now.

She looks back
on loosened ties
in so many places
the happy moments
the kisses and farewells
the many ends
of many beginnings
each thought to be the one
that would tame
the longing

It is a haunting
that echoes
down a winding trail
of silvered hair
and dried up tears
and blind—
une force majeure
so terribly misunderstood
by those who would have her
bound and chained to a hell
more closely resembling their own.

But the “nomad” knows
she is not that
and now it has come to this—
a place where a bridge
spans a river
so fresh and new
in its familiarity
linking this time
with that place
in her memory
where fragile roots
were torn so violently
from their knowing
and she is finally home.

A little background:

Some years ago it occurred to me that “chemistry” was a pretty interesting concept. We often talk about finding pair bonds with our fellow humans and the role that chemistry has in successful unions. People are drawn to each other, or not.

For me the chemistry theory also applies to our relationship with place. For example, over the years I’ve lived in over a dozen cities and towns. Some were great, but there were others in which over time I began to develop a sense of angst—like I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there and it just wasn’t “my place.” This had nothing to do with friends because I’ve always had the good fortune of finding great friends everywhere, which made leaving all the harder.

I also believe that place of origin (or place of birth) imprints on the souls of young children. I was five and a half when my father died and my mother moved us from Detroit to Timmins. Those two places could not be more different. It never ever was my plan to remain in such a remote northern community with brutal winters to raise a family of my own, so at age eighteen I packed my bags and hightailed it south… then west, then east again, then north, etc., zigzagging around the country.

Now after ten years in North Bay, I’m living in Windsor just across the river from my birthplace. I remember so much from my childhood—although more like a vivid dream—and I cross over to explore Detroit as often as I can. Every time I get over there my heart just leaps with joy. It’s hard to describe, but I suppose I’ve finally found my place.

Author: Michelle LaRiviere

Michelle is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, writer, and teacher. She is also a Reiki Master and life coach, specializing in guided soul work. Her art has been exhibited nationally in Canada, as well as in Italy, the UK, and the United States. Her practice includes traditional as well as digital media.

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