make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands
I stood, staring out the window for an hour—one solid hour. Between the sun setting over the hills to the west and the Amish woman working the field below, I was mesmerized. I could not stop watching her in her plain dress and scarf, leading a team of six sturdy work horses back and forth across the field. She worked long past sunset.
Pennsylvania Amish Country
Part two of our bucket list trip was to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I had been with some friends several years ago but my husband had never been. I was eager to show him around Amish country.
We stayed at a hotel on one of the major thoroughfares in a town called Bird-In-Hand. It was a good, centralized location for touring the Amish country. Our room was very nice; comfy bed, sofa, large flat-screen television and a fabulous bathroom. The best feature of the room was the large window over-looking the Amish farmland. We had a front-row seat to the Amish farms and the roads criss-crossing the hills. It wasn’t unusual to glance up and see a horse and buggy moving along the distant roads.
It was interesting, the front of the hotel faced a busy, two-lane road with a steady stream of semi-trucks, cars with drivers in a hurry to get somewhere and Amish horse and buggies while the back faced bucolic farmland—twenty-first century in the front, nineteenth in the back. Stress out front, peacefulness in back.
Our hotel had a replica of a typical Amish schoolhouse and home so we learned a little about Amish customs before we ventured out. We enjoyed driving around the area, looking at the farms and homes of the Amish. It wasn’t unusual to see men and women out working in the fields with horses or long clotheslines with colorful shirts and dresses and black pants flapping in the breeze. We visited some shops full of handcrafts and a grocery store where a horse pulling a buggy patiently waited in a parking spot. We savored the most delicious home-made pretzels, lemonade and root beer. Between the pretzels, breakfasts and home-style dinners, we gained a pound or two.
I loved, the peaceful, slower pace. For a moment, I was a little envious of them. No emails to go through, no telephone solicitors, no blaring televisions, none of the trappings of modern life to stress them out. They don’t even have to figure out what to wear or take time to put on make-up. No boxes and boxes of photos to put into albums — they don’t do photos! Sigh.
Of course, I would miss my phone and computer because that’s my connection to my children. But, if we were Amish, they would be living close by, unless they enjoyed their rumspringa too much and didn’t join the community.
Even though the Amish live a slower-paced life, it doesn’t mean it’s an easier life. Remember the young woman I saw earlier? She started working in the field as the sun was setting and was out there for at least an hour. There’s no telling what she had been doing all day. They seem to be a hard-working group.
We spent a couple of days in the Amish country of Pennsylvania, then drove back to the mountains of North Carolina. We enjoyed a pleasant, quiet week before going home to Florida.
Ways to Enjoy a Simple Life
As we relaxed in our mountain cabin, I thought about how I could enjoy a simple life without going to the extreme of becoming Amish. Here’s a few ideas.
- Enjoy the quiet. We are so quick to turn on the television or music on our phones. Leave them off and enjoy the stillness. Maybe you’ll be able to hear yourself think.
- Get into nature. Eat outside under the trees (ok, this may not work in Florida). Have your first cup of coffee or tea on your porch as you listen to the birds wake up.
- Take time to get into God’s Word, pray or meditate.
- Drive on the back roads if you can. That’s one of our favorite things to do in the mountains. We’ve seen some beautiful scenery just by getting off the beaten path. It’s definitely better than the interstates, which most drivers seem to think are their personal Nascar race tracks.
- Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know. We spent a delightful half-hour with a couple at the Lancaster Market after they invited us to share their table. There are still some nice people out there.
No, you don’t have to become Amish, or anything else to live a simple life. You may have to step away from some of the trappings of modern, twenty-first century life but that may not be a bad thing. What about you? Do you crave a simpler life? What are some of the things you do or would like to do to live more simply? I’d love to hear.