Dreaming Amish

Anticipating snow, and waking early to find none, I returned to sleep and dreamed:

T. and I arrived at the scene in a pickup truck.  A farmyard intersection, that convergence of earthen pathways leading to the house, to barns and other outbuildings, to the fields, and to the highway, was chosen in some corner of my restive mind as I lay sleeping to become our vantage point in this adventure. I parked the truck out of the way, positioned with the tailgate toward this intersection, and without opening the doors or walking that short distance, we assumed our seats upon the lowered gate. The area seemed more populated than one might expect, with more the bustling activity of a small hamlet than the single family enterprise suggested by the structures; men and boys in pairs and larger groups at work on sundry tasks, women and girls less visible, but still apparent in the scene. And what a splendid scene of industry and peace combined! I gathered almost instantly an air of purposeful contentment from these people; bearded, bonneted per gender, rosy cheeked, and speaking gently when at all, their world appeared without disquiet. For a moment.

The common, wrenching incongruity that is a trademark of such visions clattered up before us then, rending our impression of tranquility, and for a moment casting all the joyfully employed into a realm unseen by us. This apparition took the form of a wagon, drawn immediately before us by a team of two female centaurs, robust in form and handsome, breathing hard from their exertion, and seeming nervous and distressedif only as a normal team might, brought to such abrupt halt, inches from our like. The team was dirndl clad, with strong wide faces and blonde hair in curls that fell short of their shoulders. They appeared to be of middle age, flushed in their fairness and possessing that beautific brawn that daily heavy work imbues. The driver, next the object of our focus, first appeared beneath the fabric of his covered wagon, shoving contents of the wagon, hurling some in fact, to clear a pathway and make passage toward his team, and further forward, us. He was a short, clean shaven man of rugged build, and balding. His face was red with what I deemed a combination of his heritage, his habits, and his ire, with the latter being high and very readily apparent. I pegged him as an Irishman, and thus somehow dismissed the man, the wagon, and the jostling, steaming team, as only dreamers may dismiss such troubling encounters.

Lest this departure leave a void, my late shift editor fed in a flock of sheep, as white as snow, and in such numbers as to nearly overwhelm the landscape, which had returned, and was again of Amish nature. The sea of  sheep rolled over several hills, and where the hilltops made horizon, great white clouds reached down to blend with the enormous flock, until they were as one; the animals became a squall, and as their cameo played out, swept over  all our little scene as snow.

Another edit threw away what must have been our exclamations, for suddenly, beneath our dangling legs there was some movement in the ankle deep white powder. It was a group of six or seven creatures, and by their size I first took them to be some mice. Then T. exclaimed, “They’re chicks!”, and so I realized they were. A group of chicks seemed to be swimming through the snow, and we could see only their heads.

And here I woke again and rose to my routine: To porcelain, peek out the window, coffee pot, and pantry. I’ve been watching an Amish fellow pulling dozens of logs out of the woods, using a team of horses, over at the Lathrop farm. I considered photographing him, but never did, fearing it might upset what looked to be some perfect days for him. I didn’t want to steal his soul, but more:  me with a camera didn’t seem to fit the picture.

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