Monday, August 20, 2012

How I Love Thee...

I confess, this is also a set-up to another post, but with the belief that pictures are worth a thousand words, this is mostly a pictorial tribute to the city that I so love, with all its faults.  Let me count some of the ways:

Looking out from the North Shore
The skyline takes my breath away still after all this time.  I can see it in from land or water, in daylight, sunset, snow, fog or rain and still feel a little thrill that this is where I get to live and play.

The skyline from PNC Park

Pittsburgh from the rivers
Bored?  Never.  At least not unless I want to be.  There is always something to do.  Often, as I whined about before, sometimes too much.  And as I lose my fear of navigating around, more and more opens up.  And it is not just within the city limits either, but stretch out just a little beyond the Steel City, there is the beauty of Fallingwater, the majesty of Elk Country, or the quirky sweetness of  Punxsutawney and the famous groundhog (even though I confess, the whole place sort of creeps me out).  Want to stay closer to home?  Fine!  There is the zoo, a plethora of museums, sports coming out your ears, quirky unique shops, excellent restaurants, art festivals, community events and concerts.  It might not be the Live Music Capital that Austin legitimately claims to be, but the bands that mean the most to me personally have managed to wander through.  The biggest of all in my book, Rush, will stop by to say hello in September.  I'll bid my time by seeing Band of Horses tomorrow. 

When I think about everything I've done and experienced in the last year and three-quarters, I have to marvel that I spend any time at home at all.

The U2 concert at Heinz Field 2011
Fireworks over Point State Park

Outside the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

I have managed to do things and meet people (or at least be close enough to breath the same air) that I never dreamed I would have.  I'm not bragging, because these aren't things I've accomplished really, they are gifts the city has given me.  But here is the thing I did that I should take some credit for:  I chose to allow myself to experience life after great loss.  That takes a bit of courage actually.  I will give myself that much.  This amazing city deserves the rest.  The thing that happens to you when you survive an overwhelming loss after a tough period of fighting against it is that you risk being swallowed whole by the guilt of being left behind.  I would guess it may be most prevalent amongst parents because we know that is not the natural order of things.  So, it takes a real fight with one's inner self to not let that guilt swallow you whole and take away what chance you may have for happiness and fulfillment.  Why is that important?  Because to offer something worthwhile for anyone else you have to be fully present.  To be fully present, you must experience life fully.  For me, Pittsburgh has given me that.  For you, it will be something or somewhere else.   The address doesn't matter as much as finding where it is for you.

So, how do you hang on until these moments happen for you?  Particularly if you are still struggling to care for someone in crisis?  More about that later.

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