A small glimpse of another way of life
Yesterday my husband and I were driving through bucolic Western Wisconsin (AKA the Driftless) in search of someone to build a shed for us. We have a very small, rustic cabin in this beautiful part of the state and our property was hard hit during floods both this summer and last.
Side note: If you’ve ever wondered why it’s possible for “100 year floods” to hit so darn frequently, check out this overview from the experts at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
We’d built our own shed in the past, but after having it wash away last year (the power of water is truly amazing—I am talking about an entire shed and everything inside of it) it seemed like it was time to open the checkbook instead of the toolbox.
The local hardware store directed us to an Amish shed builder who might be able to help. As we drove through the rolling hills south of Coon Valley, it truly felt as if we had stepped back in time. Sure, I’ve often seen the horses and buggies driving along the side of the highway—or, sometimes, people walking along the road, which is pretty terrifying when you’re driving at 60+ miles per hour. But this was the first time that I’d driven by the farms where those Amish farmers and their families lived.
I didn’t take any pictures as that seemed invasive and unfair—would I want someone lingering outside my house taking snapshots of my yard? After a few wrong turns and stopping at farmhouses and on the road, we found someone who might be able to help us with a shed.
I’m sure I was romanticizing the lifestyle of the people whose paths we crossed yesterday. I have no desire to live on a farm and the day-to-day reality of their lives isn’t one that I’d likely enjoy. But there was something a bit magical about the small puppies and shy children who lingered in the yards as we drove up. And the hard-to-place lilt of the people we spoke to made me wonder if English was a language they only spoke among outsiders like my husband and me.
Will we get a shed? I guess we’ll find out eventually—apparently there will be a phone call at some point, or perhaps a letter. There was no email follow-up, no exchange of business cards or URLs. But there was a handshake and a “you betcha” that I’m guessing will suffice if we’re patient.