I have been off the grid for a bit this week. My absence was due to driving a group of Amish out to upstate New York, and that ended up meaning very little access to what was going on. That meant a lot of time to sit and ponder.
I decided that upstate New York is a lovely place and while it doesn't hold a candle to Northern Michigan in summertime it was nevertheless quite nice. It would be a great place to live if it were not in the same state as New York City. I was also bemused that people actually have Buffalo Bills stickers on their car and wear Bills jerseys. Seriously?
The decent weather and nice scenery doesn't really make up for the reason for the trip, taking a very elderly Amish mother and several of her children to New York state to bury her son. He was killed in a farming accident last week. I can think of nothing much worse than losing a child, no matter how old they are. Amish funeral rituals are kind of weird.
As someone who constantly is soaking up information and prides myself on being "in the know", it was a little disconcerting to not have access to the internet, or TV or even radio news (I don't usually have the radio on when driving the Amish). On the other hand it was also kind of nice, it allowed me to narrow down my focus to where I was and what I was doing instead of on what was going on in the world. I am glad to be back but that sort of self-imposed social media blackout might be a nice thing to do once in a while.
Quiet and stillness. There was plenty of both. I stayed clear of what was going on because it was a private moment for a private people. That meant I was sitting and not doing anything. It is amazing to just watch the world without the noise and chatter. I spent hours just watching birds, a mare and her foal, goats irritating the sheep by jumping on their backs and standing on them which is hilarious. The speed of our lifestyle means we miss a lot. A LOT.
Losing the language. The Amish I was driving are older, over 50 for the most part (since the mom is 91 that makes sense). They speak to each other almost exclusively in their form of German unless they were addressing me. Adults my age and younger tend to speak to each other in English unless they are saying something they don't want you to hear. But the Amish school aged kids speak English almost exclusively. Since their church services are are conducted in German they won't lose it entirely but I know it is a concern for a lot of older Amish, almost on par with the greater use of technology among the younger Amish.
More formal blogging to come.