Posted in A bit of history, Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Family, Gifts, Gratitude, Maryland, Mindfulness, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Spirit, Spring, Travel, Writing

The journey itself

On the road (somewhere in Pennsylvania).

Real traveling is not about visiting places but ‘re-visiting’ our inner-self.

~ Sorrab Singha

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.

~ Martin Buber

Next exit.

Cathy, over at her new blog wander.essence, has invited us to “…write a 750-word (or less) post on your own blog about the journey itself for a recently visited specific destination” in her latest travel writing prompt.  Since I have recently returned from traveling to NE Ohio, I thought I’d give this a go and see what comes up.  I did not take photos along the way on this trip so most of the images I’m using are from September of 2006 to show some of the scenery along the way.  You’ll notice the trees are leafed out and there are fall flowers (goldenrod) in the photos.  That was (obviously) not the case on our recent trip when the trees were still bare and there was snow on the ground in the mountains of Pennsylvania and in northeast Ohio.

Past travels.

M and I left early on a Sunday morning to make our way back to northeast Ohio.  Although the ultimate destination brought about happy thoughts of playing with our grandchildren, there was a touch of sadness and mourning that traveled with us because our first stop was M’s father’s house to pick up a few things.  The lawyer handling my father-in-law’s estate suggested that the family go through the house, take whatever items they might want (with a meeting of the minds, of course), and have a big yard sale to get rid of the rest.  Our journey from home to the house where my father-in-law lived over the past couple of decades covered the same external ground, but our internal travels were tinged with grief.

Going over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge towards Annapolis, MD.

We went over the Scary Bridge (also known as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge).  There are not many ways to get off the island and the Scary Bridge is not one of my favorites.  Passing through Annapolis on the other side is usually manic in nature.  They drive like nuts over there, speeding, tailgating, whizzing around in traffic to get ahead.  On this particular Sunday morning, there wasn’t a lot of traffic and we moved through the Annapolis area pretty smoothly and easily.  Traffic picked up in the Baltimore area, as it always does.  M and I wondered aloud what it must be like to drive the Baltimore Beltway during rush hour.  More like a parking lot than a highway, perhaps.

Traffic calms about half hour or so north of Baltimore, and we entered Pennsylvania with no difficulties or hold ups.  The landscape changed as it always does, going from almost flat to hilly.  Maybe it’s familiarity, but I can always sense when we’ve moved into Pennsylvania without the announcement of the welcome signs.  It feels different, as each state does to me.  I wonder if others can feel those differences.

A town somewhere in Pennsylvania.

We didn’t stay too long at the home that used to be Leroy’s.  The house feels and looks otherwise already.  It’s not empty yet, but it’s also not Leroy’s home anymore.  It is other or maybe better described as in between.  Painting and other work is being done to prepare it for being put up for sale.  Pictures on the walls have been taken down, furniture moved, carpet torn up, personal items removed or put away.

Making choices.

We had to ask for directions before leaving Leroy’s.  The route we take from there to Ohio is different than the route we would take from the Eastern Shore to Ohio.  It’s a route we took often in the past but new construction over the past five years has changed how you get to some of the highways.  In the end, we decided not to go the way we were directed.  Instead, we took the slow and scenic route on the western side of the Susquehanna River.  Did you know there is a Statue of Liberty on the Susquehanna River near the town of Dauphin?  It mysteriously appeared on an old stone bridge piling in 1986 and for several years nobody knew who put it there.  The mystery was eventually solved when the creator revealed himself.  It was originally constructed from venetian blinds and plywood by a local lawyer who wanted to celebrate the real Statue of Liberty’s centennial.  Weather, as weather is sometimes wont to do, destroyed the original.  The residents of the area, having grown fond of their own Lady Liberty, raised the money to put up a new one.  We waved to her on our way by.

Lewistown, Pennsylvania.

The road veers to the west, away from the Susquehanna River, and follows the Juniata River for a while, the scenery becoming curvier and hillier.  Weighted down with sadness and with items that once belonged to Leroy, we were also lifted up by the beauty of the area, memories of past trips on the same roads, and anticipation of being with family.  We passed the sign for Electric Avenue in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, which always makes me sing (we gonna rock down to Electric Avenue…), made our way around State College (home of Penn State University), traveled onto I-80 and through more mountains where we rode over the highest point on I-80 east of the Mississippi.  A few hours and many miles later, we arrived in the Pittsburgh area and then, about an hour past that, the land flattens out and we know, without signage, that we’ve entered Ohio, the land we used to call home.

The pond at Breezy Acres in the Bogs of Ohio.

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

17 thoughts on “The journey itself

  1. I love this piece so much, Robin. There are so many wonderful things here: your grief over visiting your father-in-law’s house and having that feeling of it being “in-between” or “otherwise.” I can certainly identify with the Scary Bridge as I’ve gone over it many times, and know many times I’ve been clenching the steering wheel, my heart pounding, as it rises so high above the bay. That Statue of Liberty story is a fun and quirky bit of Americana. I love that you had pictures too. Many of mine might not have pictures as I’m terrible at taking pictures out of a car!

    Thanks so much for contributing. I’ll link this post to mine that will publish about Cape May on Wednesday, April 4.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Cathy, especially for the prompt. Writing hasn’t come easy lately and it was good to find some kind of flow again. Most of my pictures taken out of the car windows are terrible, too. It seems like we almost always hit a bump about the time I press the button to take the photo. lol!

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      1. I’m glad you enjoyed the prompt and that it helped get your writing flowing. I am doing the prompts in many ways to challenge myself to spend more time and thought with my own writing. I don’t think your photos were bad at all. They’re certainly better than any I take!

        Again, thanks for sharing this special piece and I’ve already linked it to the scheduled post. We can all help each other in our writing goals, I think. I’m inspired by other people all the time. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A long journey, Robin, in miles and memories. You describe well, the otherness of Leroy’s home now.
    I didn’t know about the “other” Statue of Liberty.
    I love that you’ve named the bridge the Scary Bridge. Our daughters’ stuffed animals (that I’ve written about) thought most bridges were scary. There were monster bridges and alien bridges–for some reason, the Commodore Barry was the cool bridge, and it had its own song. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s because the Commodore Barry IS the cool bridge, Merril. 😉 It’s one of the few high bridges that I don’t mind going over. I have no explanation for that other than what your daughters’ stuffed animals came up with.
      Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love a road trip and it was fun to read about yours. I’m sorry, still, about M’s dad. It must be hard to go into a place and pick out a thing or two or three that you want to keep. Do you have to go back to work the yard sale? That would be hard too. I think Bruce and I traveled along that river that starts with a S. I remember not being able to pronounce it. It was a beautiful wide river wherever we were. Maybe it was that year we were out near you. I enjoy the hills of Pennsylvania so much, and I too know that when the land gets flat I’m almost home. (Well, sort of almost!)

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    1. Thank you, Dawn. 🙂 I know you do (love a good road trip). I admire the way you take off and explore. We do have to go back to help out with the yard sale. I think we’ll be doing that sometime in May. I don’t mind helping but… I’m not looking forward to it.

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  4. The hills of Pennsylvania that you write about are very familiar to me, although I never heard of that statue of liberty you saw along the way. I grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania, smack-dab on the Mason Dixon Line. That’s home to me still, although we have lived in Ohio for many more years than I lived in Pennsylvania. My husband grew up in Altoona, and we both went to university in Philadelphia. We made it back to the rolling hills of southeastern PA last November for a wonderful visit with a few high school friends I hadn’t seen in over 50 years. Thank you for this nostalgic journey through some (to me) me very special territory. My sympathy to M. I’ve been to that territory also. It always awakens some tender memories, both sad and joyful.

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      1. Pennsylvania is large and varied in geography and even climate. So much beauty to be seen. I especially love the rolling hills of the southeastern part, but I’m probably biased, having grown up there. As for the people, I’m thankful to have met many that have been a blessing to me and others over the years. On our visit last fall, a minor accident in the Home Depot parking lot brought many strangers out to help us on a cold dark night. “Friends” we had never met before. I think they are the heart of Pennsylvania. And beyond that, people like them are the heart of our country. They show up everywhere and do what is needed. Even when those in need are complete strangers.

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  5. What a bitter sweet journey, Robin. Going back to Leroy’s house and having it feel so different than when his alive-ness was in it. It is sort of sweet, though, to get together as a family and go through the things with shared memories. Sadness, love and joy shared with loved ones.
    I know – the Bay Bridge scares me too! I always want to look over because it is so pretty, but then it’s too scary!
    I enjoyed your journey within the journey.
    May your and M’s journey of grief continue with love and tenderness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Mary. 🙂 I know what you mean about it being sweet as well as sad. And as for that bridge, ugh! Shortly after we moved here, a woman in a car was knocked off the bridge by a tractor trailer. She survived the fall and the water, but the thought of it gives me the willies.

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  6. What a wonderful piece, Robin. 🙂 🙂 I just found it over at Cathy’s place. It gives me the feeling of the vastness of the States, compared to our little island over here. The parts about Leroy resonate. It’s not too long since my Dad died and we had the house to clear. A heart wrencher, if ever there was one. Nice to meet you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to meet you, too, Jo! 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by, and for your lovely comment. I’m sorry about your Dad. “Heart wrencher” describes the situation well, on all levels.

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