I distinctly remember standing on the bridge overlooking the city the day I took this photo, wearing the black hoodie because it was cold and thinking about a story that would eventually become The Haunted Maze. The idea excited me. I thought it was clever, and little bits that floated into my head made me snicker.
The road along the river was under construction that year, and I snuck down there on the scooter and rode it anyway, enjoying having it all to myself. A short walk away from my apartment was an incredible view of the city. I went there often with the camera, day and night.
I grew up in a Minneapolis suburb and was always told St. Paul was weird. I lived there two years. I’m glad I had the chance to get to know this city. It’s not weird at all. It has a wonderful downtown, the river, and lots of green space.
And it has Boca Chica, which is still my favorite restaurant anywhere. I miss it like mad; I haven’t found anything like it in Florida yet. I’d kill for a bowl of their tomato soup and the shrimp that showed up on a platter so hot, they needed oven mitts to bring it to me.
I am all the places I have ever been. They live in my mind, and sometimes in my nerves and blood. There are times when I ache to see them again: almost everywhere in western Wisconsin, the river road along St. Paul, the patio behind Boca Chica, the main street in Stillwater, MN, along with its cranky old drawbridge over the St. Croix. The colors, sounds, and smells will stay with me forever.
There’s always something new around the next bend. I look forward but never forget where I’ve been.