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This song has been lingering in my head for about a week now. Perhaps it’s the pulsing rhythm and the chilling lyrics, but I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s the main refrain, “It’s a long way to heaven, it’s closer to Harrisburg.” I think it has me longing for the road, and, to my own surprise, a return to college. I went to Gettysburg College, therefore Harrisburg was always a way point. In short, I was a miserable hermit a good deal of my time at Gettysburg. I felt like an outcast there, and aside from a few good friends I pretty much was. Driven by my frustrations with the tasteless fraternity oriented culture and perhaps my own failings to make things happen, I tried to transfer out. I didn’t. I stuck it out, and I got used to it. I think I even started to thrive on my hate. I embraced my outsider feelings, I dug deeper into music, worked at the radio station, and taught myself how to drink well, unlike those natty light swilling swine. So I guess Josh Ritter’s “Harrisburg” is tapping into that fall feeling that I should be going back to school. A lot of people are, including my girlfriend, but I’m not. This version of the song taps particularly into my feelings because Ritter has added an interlude, Hank William’s “Rambling Man. ” Not only is that another song I love, it’s another song that makes me feel like I should be strapped into my seat with caffeine plowing down the highway at 5 am in my trusty truck, just approaching Harrisburg, a long way from heaven, and an hour to go until another year tests me. Well, I didn’t make heaven, and I’m not going to make Harrisburg, but maybe something else is just on the horizon.

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