My mother-in-law came into town this weekend, and I knew if there was one thing I wanted to show her, it would be the Amish communities around here. She loves reading fiction novels based in that culture, and she had already researched some communities near our town since there isn't any in Texas (that we know of!).
She, her sister-in-law, and I left the house this morning, venturing down the highway in the rain. We were determined to shop the country stores and eat the baked goods, so getting wet was not a concern!
We turned on a road amid the green rolling hills, and baby green fields of corn and wheat. It was called, "Amish Blvd". And then we began driving by their homes, barns, and fields. It was so interesting. I really wish I took pictures, but with the rain and the clouds, I figured there wouldn't be much to shoot...I was wrong...I should always leave a camera in the car! I found these pictures on the web, from the same area.
My favorite thing to see was their beautifully kept gardens. They were so big, and I am sure sustained an entire family, extended members and all. There wasn't a weed to be seen, and they had colorful mounds of flowers here and there. My MIL said that their houses are very simple on the inside, so the women decorate with the natural beauty of flowers outdoors.
Imagine having no distractions like t.v., telephones, wii, computers and working with your hands all day? Imagine how many of the weeds you could pick, the flowers you could plant, the bread you could bake, without feeling the anxiety of having other things to do, see, or drive too?
I thought about my boys, and how easy it would be- if they had not been introduced to technology a few years ago- and how full their childhood would still be if we lived that simple way. I saw the small Amish boys, with their straw hats, climbing ladders, riding in buggies with their sisters and daddy, and running to the barn doors. We passed their one room school houses, and watched their sisters diligently help in the non-electric kitchen of a bakery. Their lives were full indeed.
Granted, I enjoy my freedoms of not feeling confined to the way I choose to dress, the way I choose to worship, the type of work I'm required to do, but I love the simplicity of the Amish. There has always been something inside me- to live that way. Maybe that's why Henry David Thoreau always sparked my interest. I saw the reality of living amid nature, cultivating it gently and fending for my family and myself! I know nothing of their religion, so I am only basing this from an outsider's perspective. But it really was a wonderful experience, and we brought home yummy baked items too- the one picture I did take!