In August, friends of ours got married in Astoria, a small Oregon port town where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. The ceremony took place in The Ruins at the historic Hotel Astoria. Considered a modern marvel back in the 1920’s, the site has since suffered fire, financial instability, and the fickleness of time. Yet it has re-emerged as a focal point of the town and a destination for visitors. Metaphorically, what a fascinating place for a wedding, especially after over two years of worldwide pandemic. It said—whatever ups and downs the future may hold, our friends will fight together and their relationship will emerge as strong as ever.
The morning after the wedding, Alan and I walked along the Astoria Riverwalk, a path once dedicated to the Columbia River Railroad that has since been converted to a pedestrian trail. I breathed in the scent, a blend of salty estuary water, rotting piers, and diesel fuel from the gigantic cargo ships queued up, waiting to dock. That familiar urban river air transported me back to New York City, where I had lived along the Hudson River for over a decade. The scent made me happy, as did the feel of the aged wood beneath my feet.
Walking in a place where history meets the present day freed my mind of daily stress. My creative juices flowed, filling my head with new story ideas. I can’t wait to write them.