Amish will not pose for photos (it's considered vanity), and though they frequent the same stores and parks and festivals as non-Amish do, they keep pretty much to themselves.
refer to non-Amish as "the English," actually.
Near the town of Killbuck, a furniture craftsman
named Arthur, who has four young children, came up to me and asked if I needed help with anything. Then he got a barrage of
questions! He was very matter-of-fact and open to talking with me, though.
Arthur says Amish are generally born into the lifestyle, and it is just
that — a chosen way of life. Their refusal to use electricity is a way
to prevent things from getting too hectic, he says.
Life is simpler, yes, but not easy. Arthur advertises his business in
print publications and makes all his contacts by land line. There is no
air conditioning in his work shop. He uses an air pump for plumbing.
His dad makes buggies, and he drives one like all the other Amish do.
But if he needs to go a long distance, he'll pay for a car and driver.
"I still have to make a living, so it is still the rat race," he says.
"But I know when I go home, there won't be any calls. No one would
expect to get a hold of me. I get to leave it behind."
I think I can relate a bit with my present life – no
electricity most of the time and there have been stretches of days with out
phone or Internet.
Life is tougher, but I value the clarity that comes from
simplicity. In fact, I associate the simplicity with freedom.
And I will say, the Amish are pretty non-judgmental toward a
blue-haired girl. In a store full of Ohioans casting suspicious glances, it was an Amish woman
in a plain blue smock and a bonnet who looked me directly in the eyes and smiled warmly. She's probably used to
being stared at, too.
The snapshots below are of an Amish boy herding his family's cows across a rural road near Holmesville, and, in town, two Amish girls watching some dunk tank action at a local festival, along with their "English" peers.