Pennsylvania: In with a Bang, Out with a Sigh

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The best part of Pennsylvania, hands down has been the people we spent time with. I was able to see some of my mom’s family in Ohio for the first time since her funeral 2 years ago and also spent time with a school of Metaphysics buddy at a Phillies game and met a remote coworker for the first time face-to-face at Liberty State Park near New York City.

Our 2nd two weeks in Pennsylvania were spent in York, and it was a little rough from the start. The park in York was a letdown compared to the idyllic beauty of our previous site at Mountain Top Campground. We arrived to an unlevel site — actually sloping up a hill — with a large dirt patch immediately to the side (unattractive but also a nice spot for parking our 2nd vehicle). We also had 2 carelessly strewn and very weathered gray picnic tables near our site, one with planks missing. Our view looked out to some wild trees and brush, which at least provided a slight sound barrier to the highway just beyond. Other than this rough first impression, the park has been ok except for the horrid smell of the paper mill many nights.

From almost the beginning work was a challenge as well. Trying to stay ahead with deadlines, I threw myself into my work for the 2 weeks. I did make some progress, but in the end I still ended up behind. Overworked and spending too much time inside the rv, I had two minor mental/emotional breakdowns during this leg of our trip. This was compounded by Brian getting sick briefly (some kind of 1-day stomach bug) and by discovering a leak in our bathroom skylight, sending me into a panicked worry about wood rot and potential mold. We called rv shop after shop — first trying to get a mobile tech, and then trying to secure any place we could find that had availability before September. Finally, we reached a mobile tech in Virginia who will be working with us next week. Things have now calmed down a bit, but I’m ready for our fresh start in Virginia.

I’m very grateful we got to visit Gettysburg while we were here. There’s something about actually setting your feet down in a place that makes it truly come alive. Earl (hubby) and I started in the museum and soaked up the history. Then we took the 2-hour bus tour, surveying pivotal parts of this important Civil War battle.

There were a few things I understood better from this experience:

  1. Nature perseveres. They say the Earth will go on when we’re gone, and I could see it here. It was hard to see the evidence of what had taken place here years ago.
  2. The flag is a source of pride. Each state brought their own flag, carried by the flag bearer. Soldiers rallied to the flag and followed the battle’s progression by the flags.
  3. The Union had overwhelmingly greater numbers. One of the first exhibits completely blew me away, showing the number of enlisted soldiers for the Union and Confederacy for each state. It was amazing the Confederacy even had a chance.
  4. To win Gettysburg, General Lee needed a successful, bold risk and/or General Meade needed to make a mistake. Pickett’s Charge was not successful, and General Meade did not make a mistake, so the Union won the battle.
  5. There must have been some angelic assistance. Despite the general odds against the Confederacy, certain events might have led the Confederacy to victory, which could very well have given them Washington and propelled them to ultimate victory in the war. The hills and road crossings in Gettysburg made for a pretty strategic battle location, and in the very beginning the Union barely discovered and secured the “high ground” in time. Also, the infamous Picket’s Charge might actually have been successful had the timing and opportunity been right.

As interesting as it all was, I don’t know if I’ll want to go back. Our guide did encourage us to return and check out parts of the battlefield on our own time. The area stretches for miles and miles, and there are beautiful memorials throughout, representing soldiers lost from each state, both Union and Confederate. Earl’s even got a distant relative — Jubal Early — that we were excited to learn more about. (Turns out he was a good fighter but a pretty big jerk of a person.) But it was so sad there. Earl said it was the museum music, but it also just felt heavy. So many lives lost. So much horror experienced on that battlefield. It pains me that people still experience these horrors in the world today.

I regret that we didn’t get to hike like I wanted to, but I think we’ll be back to check out other parts of Pennsylvania. A few people have recommended the Pocono Mountains, and we’d also like to learn more about the Amish in Lancaster County. We did get in both a Phillies and Pittsburgh game while we were in PA and grabbed a ballpark Philly cheesesteak and some Tastykakes from Wawa, so I think we got a good first “taste” of the area. I also reconnected with my love of reading and heard some good universal Akashic Record reports, so I hope to have some interesting things to share with you going forward. (Still hoping to get some regular blogs out to you!)

To us all and life’s many adventures! :)

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