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Essays
Musing Around Pennsylvania, USA

Chris's Pennsylvania Travels
2006 Road Trip to Gettysburg and Hershey Pennsylvania.
Locations approximately plopped in; map not recommended for travel use.

Musing Around Pennsylvania, USA

Civil Wars and Chocolate Dreams

Did you know there is a Muse, Pennsylvania? I’m not kidding. While planning a road trip from Illinois to Pennsylvania, USA, I noticed a small town named “Muse” on the map just southwest of Pittsburgh right off of Interstate 79. I don’t know about you, but I think it would be rather cool to live in a town named Muse. Does anyone out there live in Muse?

Muses aside, I really should have titled this entry “DESSERTing Work, Part II” (remember Tombstone?) because over the Thanksgiving holiday week I was off again visiting relatives and experiencing the historical bitter-sweetness of two very famous Pennsylvania towns: Gettysburg and Hershey (yes, that Hershey — the town where streets have names like Chocolate Avenue and the sweet smell of cocoa fills the air (you did notice the double “S” in dessert right?).

Now that I think about it, I did encounter a variety of Muses in Pennsylvania. And in between sightseeing and writing postcards home I found myself craving some quiet journaling time to capture pieces of my trip in full “Writing Down the Bones” style. Late one afternoon I slipped into a cozy chair by a warm fireplace in our Gettysburg hotel lobby and just let everything I felt, seen, and heard around me stream out in writing for about 30 minutes. These meaningful moments of alone time and personal reflection intensified my experience and enjoyment of the historical town that I lived in for three days.

I have never done so much out-of-state traveling in my entire life in such a short time as I have this November. My well is overflowing and I have so much I want to write about. Between Arizona and Pennsylvania I experienced so many new people, places, and things, and NOUN that I’m home I’m tired and need to rest from my vacation!

Traveling definitely has its cons. My e-mail inbox is full and my kitty won’t stop doing figure eights between my legs (she told me not to go away for so long again). I have two weeks of work to catch up on, and I've been seized by a sore throat / cold thing. No worries though, next on my list is a hot shower, tea, and rest.

Before I close, I wanted to say this: Despite my current “need to recharge and recover” state, restocking my pond has been such a rich experience over these last few weeks. I am left with so much to process, so many new wonderful memories, and an overflowing well bursting with creative inspiration to draw upon in the coming months.

It's interesting that I chose the Thanksgiving holiday week to do this latest traveling. Thankfulness was constantly on my mind. No doubt, slipping into another place in time in Gettysburg and experiencing the bitterness of the 1800's Civil War reminded me of other things I am thankful for not only for myself, but for others in our country. Overall, my destination selections had some powerful lessons I was ready to absorb, and my life will never be the same. •

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