Saturday, April 7, 2018

St. Louis for the second time

I'm currently in St. Louis, Missouri, halfway through a two-week trip for work. The last time I passed through St. Louis was during our cross-country road trip honeymoon, six and a half years ago. We stopped for a pretzel snack near the Arch but otherwise didn't see anything of the city. I remember it feeling kinda silly but also fun, to have pretzels of all things, in St. Louis. I also remember us being impressed with just how wide the Mississippi really is. It's one of those things where "knowing" it's a big river is really different from seeing it.

I wish Drew was here with me this weekend. Nostalgia feels more bittersweet when it can't be shared.

I'm going up to the top of the Arch later today; I don't usually do the typical "tourist" activities when I travel… but I don't want to let some stupid hipster notion or simple laziness keep me from doing something unique and iconic, either. Especially since the Arch feels kindred with the Space Needle. I'm hoping that I've explored enough of the area in the past week to appreciate the view, at least somewhat. 'Cause it feels like a waste to me, when I go to a scenic viewpoint but can't recognize anything that I'm looking at.

The "history-ness" of St. Louis feels more palpable to me here than in many places on the West Coast that I'm familiar with. The buildings here are old enough that I can't help but imagine past lives, past centuries superimposed on the landscape. According to a plaque on Fourth Street downtown, the Revolutionary War came as far west as here (presumably for control of the Mississippi River). Being in visibly-old cities gives me a sense of place in the larger country, world, history. It's like the sense of awe and connection to the universe I get when stargazing, except on a more human scale. Maybe I've just grown too familiar with Seattle to feel that way there, but I feel it here.