Two years ago I visited my cousin in Michigan and on one of our treks, we drove down country roads in Amish Country in Shipshewana, Indiana, passing farmers who created straight and curvy plots for Spring planting while standing on the back of plows driven by teams of two matched draft horses, more hands high than I could count. They reminded me of firemen in times past who stood on running boards gripping the back of speeding firetrucks. Another bygone time.
Clothing flapped and fluttered on drying lines under the bright blue sky. Houses dotted the land untethered to power poles, their window shades raised high to attract the light. Single black horses, lathered with sweat, seemingly unfettered from the carriages behind them whisked bearded and unbearded men, bonneted women, and many children to their destinations. Men and women on bicycles lumbered up hills in the crisp air. All transportation devoid of motorized convenience.
And then, as we descended a hill just over the rise, I squinted to see how the woman in the black dress made her way up the hill. Walking? Bicycle? When she came more clearly into view, I was incredulous. I chuckled. More than any compromise of old world and new, this stood out to me, a brave woman who found a creative way to stand for her beliefs and her place in the world. Roller blades. She pumped up the hill, arms swinging in a free spirited motion that connected what was to what is.
Ah, life. Ah, connection. Ah, woman. I hear you roar. You have taken what is and demonstrated possibilites. You have hallowed the ground blending the spirit and the letter of the law of your land. In it you have become civilly disobedient. You go girl. Skate on. Lesson learned on a country road.
And this year, no wonder, I have planned to include a visit to my cousin within my visit to the Midwest. What new understandings will await me on Amish Country roads?