Fall Break: Apparently to Loyola, these words mean giving us one day off of classes. One. Day. While many of my friends are enjoying week-long fall breaks, I was given a long weekend.
Okay, rant over. We all know how much I love Loyola, and to be honest, when you know you have Friday off from classes, the entire week just seems to go by that much more smoothly. It’s really amazing what only four days of classes in a week can do for your ambition, and your desire to get to fall break as quickly as possible.
A lot of students go home for fall break, which I suppose is what it’s intended for. Some go on OAE trips, and others just stay and chill on campus, which I quite enjoyed doing last
year. But Jen, Meagan, and I stuck with out Thoreau-inspired sophomore theme of “Living Deliberately” and ventured to my cousins’ farm in Pennsylvania for the weekend of fall break.
The three of us are adventurers at heart, and once we made our fall break plans for the farm over the summer, it was all we talked about for months. We left early Friday morning, fueled up with some Dunkie’s, and began the three-hour drive through western Maryland into PA.
For the drive we had our country-inspired playlist and of course, the cooler and snack bag no road trip can be without. Meggy fell asleep in the backseat (what’s new) while Jen and I had deep conversations about life in the front, driving through fog and mountains. The highlight of the journey up to PA (and any road trip of ours through the country for that matter) was Jen screaming, “COW!” every time the city girl from New Jersey saw her favorite black and white farm animal.
Near the end of October, it was peak time for the changing of the leaves, and we stopped at Sideling Hill in western Maryland to look out over the vast expanses of deep red and
orange hues in the endless valleys stretching out below us. We then continued to climb the mountain, pausing at our favorite western Maryland pit stop, Sheetz, and the Mason-Dixon line (dividing PA and MD) for pictures, and made it to the farm in Somerset County, PA, by early afternoon.
My dad’s cousin Debbie, her husband Marshall, and their 16-year-old grandson Sage were sitting on the porch, ready to welcome us as my Jeep pulled into view. We unloaded our bags, severely over-packed for a weekend trip, gave Jen and Meagan a tour of the huge farmhouse and new log cabin additions, and climbed in the old pickup truck to head out to the fields across the way.
I had been shooting at the farm before, but it was a new experience for Jen and Meagan. My cousin Sage, being the country boy that he is, gave them a thorough lesson, and we
took turns, aiming at milk cartons and Dr. Pepper cans. We had been at the farm for only a couple hours and already we were all in love and at peace. An hour later, on our way back to the house, Sage scooted over in the cab and let Jen take the wheel (did I mention the girl has never driven stick shift in her life?).
That evening we enjoyed a home cooked meal of chicken and rice before retiring to the living room (read: log cabin), which is only my favorite place in the world. I love to sprawl out on one of the oversized brown leather sofas by the ever-glowing fireplace and cover up with a quilt, either reading a
book, doing homework, or relaxing while I gently nod off. The cabin is decorated with stuffed animals, old firearms, horse-themed items, and old plates and urns, and to me, that room is as country as it gets.
After relaxing and doing a little homework for a few hours after dinner we brought cookies and milk into the cabin and broke out Sorry!, our favorite board game that makes us all much more competitive than we truly are.
The next couple of days at the farm allowed us time to go into town for a nice lunch at the
Mansion, take walks through the fields and the woods, and most importantly, look at the stars.
It was Saturday night and nearing midnight as we were all getting ready for bed. The three of us girls were all sleeping in the same bedroom and Jen looked out the window and said, “Wow. Look at all those stars. I could never see the stars like that in Baltimore or at home in New Jersey because of all the streetlights. I wish we could go outside and look at them.”
Then it hit me, in my flannel PJs and all. “Well, why can’t we?” And we bundled up, knocked on Sage’s bedroom door, and went outside for at least half an hour to gaze up at the stars. As we huddled together and looked up at the twinkling sky, we saw two shooting stars, something I had never seen before. At that moment, I made a mental note that I wanted to remember the peaceful calm and beauty of that night once I got back to my hectic life on campus. Sometimes, I have found, you just need to take a moment like that.