Sacred Spaces: Pittsburgh

Part of our vacation this year included travel to the mecca of the Kort family – Pittsburgh. A’s parents happened to do a wedding nearby, so we thought we would spend a few days together in the Steel City to catch up (I haven’t seen them since last June). Of course we hit up all the familiar spots – centered around food – Primanti Brothers’ and Original O’s, as well as the incline to check out the amazing city views, PNC Park where the Pirates ACTUALLY won (I am certain that I am a good luck charm), and the Pitt Stop to get Pitt paraphernalia.

I love watching A- pause at these different spots – particularly where there are views. It seems like he eats and drinks it in even more than the huge cheesesteak sandwich at Primanti Brothers. This is when I realize that seeing is much more than collecting or recording information…it’s consumption…nourishment…and soul-shaping.

Annie Dillard writes in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

There is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go. When I see this way I sway transfixed and emptied. The difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera…When I walk without a camera, my own shutter opens, and the moment’s light prints on my own silver gut…

And she writes about a moment at Tinker Creek watching the fish:

Something broke and something opened. I filled up like a new wineskin. I breathed an air like light; I saw a light like water…When I see this way I see truly. As Thoreau says, I return to my senses…

I still don’t totally get it about it Pittsburgh – I do love the city, it’s definitely interesting, and terribly under-rated. I can only glimpse what A- thinks and feels about it through a parallel experience of my own inclination towards certain spaces – Pikes Peak, the Grand Tetons, the MoMA, the DR. But, I do know that it is something absolutely sacred – holy and set apart – for people I love, so in some ways, I’m fed by it, too.

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