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Amish day dreams

May 14, 2012

I am just back from spending the weekend in Pennsylvania at my nephew’s wedding. During the day, we drove around and looked at the Amish. It reminded me of being in Africa and landrovering around looking for zebras, elephants and lions– all in their native habitat. I kept imagining what we looked like to them. Immodest, loud, messy, wasteful. But even though I felt guilty for gaping and staring, I could not stop. The buggies, the bonnets, the weird archaic German, the boys driving the horses across the fields — it was too good to be true. Here was early America in action. I should have come here to research my first book on colonial America. In fact, I should be Amish. I would live simply, gathering herbs and training grape vines up my arbor. I would pat my horses and watch them gallop around in their green meadows.

To cope with my feeling of being a technology-ridden, plastic using, clueless member of modernity, I bought some placemats to bring home, hoping the navy blue curlicues would ward off my true identity. Maybe it was time to live off the grid. My son would no longer play video games. Together, we would be contemplative and live a prayer filled life. It was so close, I could taste it. But when we got behind a buggy on the way home, I was impatient. Why couldn’t we we get past them? What were they doing on the road anyways?

Mr.Technology (my son) captured some of this on film:

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