Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Tidy Life

I started Sue Bender’s Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish in preparation for this month’s NWCC sponsored Reading Round Table. A book similar to Cold Comfort Farm for its praise of tidy living.

Everyday life is made easier by the fact the Amish keep it simple, plain and tidy. The Amish life is beautiful, unlike the Starkadders of Cold Comfort. The Starkadder clan seems to wallow in their self created mire. It isn’t until Flora’s visit that they start to tidy-up and see little successes.

Plain and Simple begins with Bender finding herself entranced by some Amish quilts which hang as backdrop in a men's suit display. The deep blues, purples, maroons, the simple square patterns, the worn yet vibrant compositions all stir her senses. Who are these people, which turn worn clothes into works of art?

Intrigued she then takes a sabbatical from husband and two kids to spend a year living amongst these artists. Her first thoughts, clean and tidy, each piece of furniture has a place, nothing of show clutters the tables or desks, for this is simple living. She is quick (by chapter 4) to discover their lives, their homes, their land are all canvases in which art emerges.


I love this passage in P&S:

“Manure is our crucial crop,” Eli joked. “Tractors don’t make manure!” A horse reproduces itself, he explained, and a tractor only makes debt.

What farmer sense and cents!

No comments: