Every time I come through the tunnel, this view grabs me by the throat. It leaves me momentarily speechless as I once again absorb the gritty wonder of this skyline.
This is the vista that welcomes me home.
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A third generation southwestern-Pennsylvanian, it barely ever occurred to me that there were other places on the planet to live. This was my place. I spent my childhood racing around its streets, first holding the hands of my parents, and then accompanied by forever friends as I got older.
Its hills and rivers and soaring trees became a part of me. Its rich history my own.
My dad taught me Steeler football, and twelve months a year I bleed black and gold.
When I was in high school we moved away from Pittsburgh for awhile, but it was still my home, and I came back often. I would fly into the Pittsburgh airport, and was met by family for the unremarkable drive into the city. The route took us through some suburbs, and strip malls, and industrial complexes, and I drove it so many times I barely noticed anymore.
But then. Then we went through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, and when we came out the other side, the world opened up into that view. And I was home again.
Each and every time I go back to Pittsburgh - far more often since my parents moved back three years ago - I find myself steeped in familiarity. I revel in walking the streets of my childhood, and see myself throughout the years on each and every corner of the city.
I have lived four different places since we moved away from Pittsburgh. I have soaked in the balmy nights of Jacksonville, Florida, lived shoulder to shoulder with American history in Boston, experienced the frenetic energy of Manhattan, and have now settled into the quiet grace of Westchester County. And I have taken something important from each and every one of those places.
But there is, and forever will be, only one place to which I am inextricably linked. Only one place that has made an indelible mark on my soul.
It may not be where I live right now.
But it is still home.
|From the backyard of my parent's new house, I can see my old house.|
Talk about coming full circle.