My 15-year college reunion was fun. I got to see my friends and the new things on campus. The leaves were turning, so the mountains were really pretty.
I'd forgotten just how beautiful and how depressing central Pennsylvania is. Driving on the highway in the mountains and seeing clouds casting shadows on the ground below, or on the next ridge over. The comforting feeling of being in a valley. The isolation and loneliness of rural life.
I grew up in Frederick, MD, back when it was an army base, a college, and a bedroom community for Bethesda. It's grown a lot since then, and badly. There's only so far you can widen roads, especially when public transit isn't on the table. My route north took me through there, and I hadn't been back in a few years, since my mom moved away.
The Blue Ridge Mountains were always part of my life. They were always just off to the west a bit, on the horizon. Where I live now, I'm nowhere near close enough to see them. The Piedmont is an hour or two west, the Blue Ridge another hour beyond that. I miss that.
I was hit with a wave of unexpected nostalgia when I went to campus to pick up my registration materials, so I took a walk. I always loved wandering campus at night.
I took a drive out to the expanded field station, on land leased from the Army Corps of Engineers at Raystown Lake (which the ACE built). I'd never gone as a student, so I took this opportunity. Biology students can live out here for a semester, take classes, and do research. The new lodges and the main building are LEED certified, and they have composting toilets. Very eco-friendly.