I have been in Pennsylvania more than I have not been in Pennsylvania.
This realization bewilders me. I’ve never really felt like a Pennsylvanian. I feel no allegiance to Pennsylvania. I was born a midwesterner, and though we moved when I was minuscule, my family never embraced Pennsylvania as home. Philadelphia was so close to us, but we fell shy of its strong cultural influences. Instead, my upbringing was set against the cookie-cutter backdrop of suburbia.
When is a city your city?
From the burbs, I ventured to college in Pittsburgh, but the university was its own microcosm, a mini globe on a parcel of manicured lawns. Carnegie Mellon, unlike the city, was very much a part of my identity. Based on time and location, you could call me a Pittsburgher, but this city has always felt more like a backdrop than a fiber of my being. Our values don’t always align. Our ambitions don’t always align, and I surely do not wave a terrible towel.
Yet, here I am. I may never feel or claim to be a Pittsburgher, but I’ll take its growing amenities. I’ll sip the finer coffee drinks. I’ll watch the progress, and I’ll occasionally treat myself to the finer food scenes, but ultimately, I just want to carve my own world from its grid. I want to carve a world where nooks and crannies are curated, where the earth and sky feel clean and safe, where the food is always trustworthy, where simple details help me appreciate each passing day. (See why I fell for that Urban Farmer fella?)
Steve and Jody Choder did exactly that! They carved out a world, Choderwood, where the city fades away, where the rootless can relish how placeless they feel, where little details await discovery. They carved out a world where the rivers are celebrated and where relaxation enraptures you in minutes. It’s blissful.
If you’re looking for a mental, physical and spiritual escape, follow the trail to this dock, and spend a night on this houseboat. It’s a wonderful world unto itself, one that will inspire you, should you, like me, be hoping to carve your own corner.