“Find your place of peace and carry it with you always.” -Unknown
I was always very independent. Typically, I opted to spend my days in my bedroom at home, reading books, listening to music, or watching my favorite movie for the hundredth time over going out with friends. It didn’t bother me much, I preferred to be left to myself and my thoughts. My parents were more concerned than I was.
My mom and dad would tell me, what seemed like every other day, to go out or call a friend asking them to come over. My usual answer was, “No, I’m good,” and oftentimes I was. I was unconcerned with the fact that I wasn’t considered popular, I had few friends I actually enjoyed talking to, and I was alone. I was content to be on my own. My parents understand for the most part, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t afraid for me. They told me if I don’t want to be around other people, I should at least have a place I can go to let what troubles me fall away. I took this advice in stride.
For those who haven’t been to Central Pennsylvania, most of it is farmland and in the center is the oddly small capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Living in a small town means that there really aren’t many things to do or places to go. Sure we have Hersheypark and other entertainment, but it was a bit of a drive if you wanted to get almost anywhere. It was a miracle that I even found a lonely horse trail hidden in the heart of Pinchot State Park.
Funny, this place is perfect for me. Isolated, barely used to its full potential, often forgotten.
The hardest part is finding the entrance. On the right of a main road, just past a seemingly ancient cemetery, is a narrow path surrounded by foliage. It’s difficult to see that this path can fit a car, and it is difficult to fit a 2003 Ford Expedition through it. Once found though, the rest is fairly simple. A walkway leading down a steep hill beckons me to draw closer. I’m long past the point of hesitation to comply. Banking right at the lake, I can hear the splashing of water. Then I see it, my favorite place.
Tucked away from the lake, the nook holds tumbled rocks with water running over them. This place looks like something out of a movie, but you won’t see cameras here. I jump from rock to rock to get to the other side of the brook, where a thin path awaits. I continue walking until I get to my special place. Three rocks jut out from the lapping water. I jump on the first two to get to the third, the farthest into the water.
I don’t know what it is about water that I am drawn to. No matter if it’s an ocean, a river, or a lake. I always want to be near it. Maybe it’s the calm sound of shifting liquid. Perhaps the smell of the salty or sweet air. I am unsure. All I know is that it is one of the only places where I can think clearly and be on my own.
I like to think about the concepts of life, love, friendship, anything really that comes to mind. I take the book in the picture above with me when I come here. I write down all the ideas, thoughts, and sometimes poems in my little, poorly bound notebook. It’s cleansing to be able to let loose the jumble going on inside my head. There’s no need for someone else to entertain. No need for worry. No need for interaction with others. I am able to just lose myself in the wind whistling through the trees and the ripples on the water. I give my attention over to the wildlife, watching every movement and wondering why things are what they are.
I guess a scientist’s brain never loses an opportunity to conduct an analysis or question the laws of nature, but I don’t mind much. I’m used to overthinking and overanalyzing everything, but here, I am doing both in a more relaxed way.
Finding a place to be free from the stresses of civilization and society is so important for having a healthy mind. We all need a little peace at some point. I carry that overgrown horse trail in Pinchot with me everywhere I go, for that is where my best thoughts can be found.
All My Love,