Standing at the Confluence: Our First Trip Back to Pittsburgh

We were back at our home base recently, and I think Will and I were both surprised at how foreign being back felt. We have really adapted to our life on the road, and after 3 months of living in the camper, it truly feels like home. Even though we were only back for a few days, we were able to see a lot of family, attend the St. Francis blessing for Daisy at our church, and walk along the North Shore of Allegheny to look at the spectacular fall colors.

We ended up driving through the city on a couple of occasions, but on our first trip through, we drove past the location of Will’s last work holiday party. While most people mark the uncertainty of 2020 as starting with the pandemic, the uncertainty about our future and the beginning of our path that brought us to this point started the Monday after his holiday party in December 2019. In many ways, we see that Saturday, which was full of parties, friends, and laughter, as an ending of the life we knew. Driving by brought a sense of closure that I did not realize I needed.

In many ways our walk along the North Shore and to Point State Park was also a coming full circle kind of moment. Ever since I moved to Pittsburgh in 2011, these areas have held incredibly special places in my heart. I find so much symbolism when I stand at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers as they form the Ohio River at the Point, and it is a place I have returned to many times in the past 9 years.

When I first moved to the city, I lived in the building that once housed the old Heinz factory, which is just up the Allegheny River from downtown. I spent countless evenings and weekend mornings walking along the river and exploring the city on foot. I was starting out officially on my own in a city I had always dreamt of living in. When I worked downtown, I would often catch an early bus into the city and get off a few stops early so I could walk to the Point and watch the sun come up over the skyline. Even though I was going to a job that was less than ideal, I loved those quiet mornings on the river. On our wedding day, we made our way into the city for pictures on the Roberto Clemente bridge and around Point State Park. Little Bird’s first trip downtown at 1 month old was to the fountain at the Point during the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Both of those events symbolized true moving forward in our lives, first as individuals, then as a couple, and finally as a family of 3.

On our walk, we stopped and took a family photo under a tree where we had pictures taken on our wedding day. It was pretty much the only tree that had changed on our wedding day and was thankfully still in full color this year. We walked with Little Bird all around the fountain and thoroughly enjoyed her shrieks and giggles of delight as she picked up leaves, pointed out all the dogs, and waved at random people and places. We sat on a bench and ate some lunch while we watched the Gateway Clipper shuttle a few Steelers fans to the game. Each of these moments, each step we took in the city, felt like an ending and a beginning. It was a familiar feeling that I have felt over and over again throughout the past decade in this very spot.

We do not know where this adventure of ours will take us in the end, but being back in Pittsburgh, specifically at the Point, reminded me to have faith in our journey, in the plans God has for us, and in what we perceive to be the unknown—it will only be unknown until we find out where we are supposed to be going.

October 2017
Photo by Christa Lee Photography
October 2020

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