Monday, January 17, 2011
The Amish...and my long awaited decision
You most likely don't know this...and probably would never guess...but
I LOVE Amish culture.
I love their sustainable lifestyles, their familial communities, their spiritual dedication, and in my most private thoughts, I often fantasize about living in an Amish Community.
Is that odd? For an urban Brown-skinned girl to want to give up the trappings of modernity to return to the land, bake bread, pickle, darn & spin yarn? I don't rightly know since I haven't REALLY shared my love of Amish culture with anyone besides my Husband...who does find my infatuation a bit cute, if not totally off the wall.
But when I talk to my family about the Amish and how I admire their ability to work the land and live simply...I begin to get the look I've gotten since childhood...a look that basically says...
"You're really strange...aren't you?"
Then I'm belittled AGAIN for the fact that I don't have a television. And they talk about what they cannot live without: televisions, xbox, wii, etc. It's as if the trappings of popular culture have stopped up their ears so completely that they can't see past the newest item of interest...to get at what really matters: family,love, spirituality & peace.
But my love for Amish Culture and (and really my love for)the Culture of Simplicity has been steadily growing.
I've been enchanted by the Amish since I was a child. I remember my grandparents took me to Amish country once. It wasn't far away, but I'm sure they thought a "Modern Child" wouldn't want to go and see such simple things, so they only took me once or twice. But I was enamored with that magical place, time seemed to have been gentler to...where buggies bounced down roads to the "clip, clop" of horse hooves, where shops were friendly...but didn't practically twist your arm to buy. Where the produce was fresh and bountiful.
The first time I encountered Amish people close-up, was when I was very young and I went to a local amusement park with my family. I was a wee little thing and so we spent a fair amount of time at the petting zoo. There I saw a man, woman, and children dressed in dark clothes. They stuck out a bit, not because they were mean or odd;...they just had an air about them that said the only things that were visible to them were the baby animals on display.
Years later, in college I remember being hysterically happy to see the rare buggy trot past.
It hadn't occurred to me that I was enamored by the Amish, dazzled by their simple garb and...their simple, quiet ways.
Their quiet, spoke to something inside of me...it awoke some unknown desire within me for peace, open spaces, community, spirituality and love. Although, it's just now that I'm able to see that.
Within the last 5 years...I've sensed a change in myself, moving from wanting to be in Paris...ALL THE TIME to wanting a place of my own.
I want to homestead...to dive my hands into fertile Mother Earth and plant roots.
WOW. That's a big step for me. Actually getting my intention out into the Universe...to make it real more real.
Yes. I AM BECOMING A HOMESTEADER.
With my Husband, I would like:
A fairly large piece of LAND
A large yet cozy HOME for our large family (we hope!)
I also want a few COWS
A couple of SHEEP
Two or three CHICKENS
I want to GROW our own food
MAKE all our meals (except when I want something fancy)
and make some of our clothes.
I want to be thrifty (already accomplished)
Fashionable (check there too! Most of the time)
And independent (working on it)
I still want to be chic and informed and dress nicely...after I've milked our cows, fixed breakfast, ect. I still want to be a hot classy wife....
My Husband and I think a lot of people are feeling this pull to go back to nature...not to "go back to simpler times" but to become a simpler, more wholesome people.
Many MANY things have influenced this decision: from the horrors in the news, poor food at the grocery store, high prices for produce, and just feeling distant from the land. I've been influenced by visiting local farms, and locally owned/produced markets, small towns, and reading Mother Earth News, thepioneerwoman.com's everyday adventures and also going back to Amish country to feel such a wholeness settle into my bones...a deep-sung happiness that I've never found within the confines of the city.
And while my Husband and I both enjoy the pleasures the city has to offer...we do feel as though it separates us from our Humanity sometimes... ceaseless traffic, lung-clogging pollution, petty crimes, violent crimes, uncaring neighbors, fast-food with no indication of the actual animals and vegetables it comes from, the indescribable rudeness of strangers, the abject poverty, the proudly insensitive...
I have been preparing myself, slowly but surely for this huge change...designing a food garden for our flat's small patio, which will hopefully supplement, if not provide all our fruits and vegetables this autumn (fingers crossed).
And since last year I've been honing my skills at making homemade, hand-kneaded bread...loving the work and artistry that goes into every loaf.
:) I'll be the first to admit I have a long way to go.
But In the words of one of my favorite songs:
"Hey come along and join the fun...."
Question: Do you ever think about leaving the city behind and homesteading?
I freely admit, I have a wonderful rose colored view of Amish life, and I know there are many hardships in that community, as in every other; from domestic violence to abuse. I just wanted to say I do really enjoy reading about Amish Culture and visiting Amish country, and I appreciate and admire their sustainable way of living with the Earth.