Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I have a connection to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It will always hold a special place in my life.
Although I grew up in the mountains and coal country in the western part of the state, I came east to attend Franklin and Marshall College in the City of Lancaster. Over the four years I spent there, I learned the countryside, became friends with long time county residents, met and married my wife, and even managed to sell a car to an Amishman (a long story for another day).
Those of you in the United States, and perhaps even Canada, have probably seen the news from Monday. A local delivery man entered a one-room Amish school house and took the girls hostage. Although his plan to molest them failed, he killed five girls and critically wounded several others before killing himself. Nickel Mines, where this happened, is only 20 miles from our house. Even though we've never driven through it, many times we've passed close on our way to Strasburg.
We purposefully chose to live where the two worlds mix, where the long reach of Philadelphia yields to farms and stones houses standing since colonial times. We are near the mid-point between the cities, and we feel part of them both.
Lancaster County is a unique place, and although I do not agree with their reasons, I have a deep respect for the Amish and their way of life. We've forgotten so much of how to meet the Earth on its own terms. We've lost our knowledge of dirt and sweat and the strength of our own backs. Inspired by the Amish, I decided to build a couple pieces of furniture in college with nothing but hand tools. I've tried to relearn some of the old ways.
There are so many hollows and twists in the road where tourists never go. One room schoolhouses still dot the countryside, and teams of horses harvest fields as the sunset bleeds into the blades of hay. I'll try not to let this crime diminish the magic, but who knows how long such places will exist. The rest of world just punched a hole in this one, and I feel we are all made less because of it. My heart goes out to the children and their families.
Posted by jason evans at 12:05 AM