I came up around the bend at 50 mph and nearly took out a horse and buggy. Let me just say that slamming on the breaks when your towing 4000 pounds is a sightly harrowing experience.
On my way to Gettysburg from my stay in Raystown Lake with my Max members, I decided to take the backroads and see some of this beautiful state. Any chance I get I’ll always take the road less traveled. These backcountry roads are curvy and narrow and even though there are signs showing horse and buggy in the area, the speed limits don’t reflect the associated risk. Dangers aside, viewing and exploring the Amish communities are a lesson in what is a simple, yet incredibly hard, life.
New Holland, Bird in Hand, Intercourse, Paradise, and Strasburg; all Amish communities just east of Lancaster County, PA. They are a somewhat sovereign and live by the principle “the harder the work the closer to God.”
I spent six weeks in the Gettysburg and Lancaster area with the majority of it “unplugged” because of the lack of internet. When it became challenging for me (I love being “on grid”) I tried to put things in perspective by observing how these folks live; taking in the slow and deliberate pace of their day, the way the carriage meanders along the road. Never in a hurry. Never rushed. I was fascinated and somewhat obsessed by the methodical way they hang their laundry; many of the larger farms with a clothesline pulley system that extends from the back door of the home to the top of the barn, maybe 100 feet long. Dresses, bonnets, shirts and underwear in coordinated blocks of color and extending up to two stories high.
As I drove through these communities and patronized their markets, there were so many instances where I wanted to stop and shoot pictures, but it was nearly impossible to pull over and rare opportunities to turn around. The Amish are also very protective and do not like their picture being taken. Many times, as I passed a buggy with a female driver in her bonnet and colorful dress, she would turn her head away and bow so I could not make eye contact. As a woman who believes strongly in equity for women, I really struggled with this. But this is how they live and I respect that.
Watching the families work together in the tobacco fields; cutting off the golden elephant-sized leaves, stacking them in perfect, ritualistic piles on the field and then transporting them to the racks in the drying barns was somewhat mesmerizing. Seeing an eight year old boy use a machete to take down cornstalks—one stalk at a time—was a lesson in patience.
Harvest season must bring them right up to Gods front door.