Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Americana and Contrasts

I had the opportunity to attend a wedding this weekend near Havre de Grace, MD. The trip was an excellent reminder about the rhythms and cycles of life, as well as the eclectic nature of regionalism.

To get to MD from where I live, you must cover a lot of territory through the back roads of PA to get to the main artery heading east. We so enjoyed all the small towns we passed through, the interesting homesteads we saw, and the beauty of the terrain. Along the way, as we proceeded to the eastern seaboard, we passed from the simplicity of dairy farms to the opulence of horse farms; from the faded antique advertisements on the sides of barns to the crisp paint on crown moldings over the doorways of new builds. We left drab, early spring and entered Technicolor full spring.

Instead of seeing a bar on every corner, we encountered a multitude of churches – all denominations with no regard for rural vs. suburban settings. It was great to see them active and experiencing people streaming in for everything from yard sales to revivals to worship. So many had adjoining cemeteries that I could visualize the humorous adage of “hatching, matching and dispatching.” We even learned that the church hosting the wedding, built in the early 1700s, is struggling with the current issue of contemporary vs. traditional worship styles. Apparently history is not necessarily an insulator against the creep of modernity.

At one point on the journey we came upon a large open area surrounded by a fence where there appeared to be large group of cloned people watching some sort of event. We finally realized that it was a group of Amish men watching harness races. It was an interesting picture. It made me think about that sect and wonder how they have been able to maintain their lifestyle in today’s modern, changing world. What a challenge for them.

I came away from the weekend being thankful for creation, diversity and freedom as I witnessed all three in a myriad of ways.

1 comment:

BJBergfalk said...

Did any of those Amish fellows look marriageable? Just wondering...

BJB