Places are full of surprises and beauties. Just try looking.
We’ve loved this city since we first visited it, even if it began as just a feeling that we could enjoy living here. Now with the decision to stay for a few more years, we look forward to getting to know it better.
The buildings (mostly the old ones) are fascinating.
Of course it’s not all conventional beauty. Some things are decaying and some are growing; I find interest in both.
There’s this shell of a building, with some mysterious past, possibly tragic, and a profusion of vines trying to obscure its walls. (I say “new life” in response to the presence of green; my dad would point out that the vines are actually slowly destroying the walls. There’s the juxtaposition–you can’t get away from it.)
I think of the gorgeous and rich portrayal of nature’s ambivalence in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, in which Annie Dillard writes of the wonder and wildness of things. Things decay and die, and prey upon each other, and live and grow. Pilgrim is an achingly beautiful book, a contemplative work, but not light, full of descriptions that stay with you and sometimes keep you awake if you read them right before bed.
I think it’s this way that old and new live alongside each other, the strange yet old-as-time process of building and breaking down, that holds us in thrall. This place isn’t the city it once was (so I hear), but that’s because all things are being transformed.
Some growth just happens, and some requires tending. This is good for us.
We are getting some of our food from local farms, an important step in a new direction we’re going. It has already proved to be a wonderful thing.
Here’s to St. Louis. We like it here. But more than that, we’re glad to have a place to love, a place to really get to know as we spend a few years here getting more rooted, caring about community and trying to be good to the land we have the care of (even if at present it’s just a little balcony full of herbs and lettuces). Life holds so many beauties.