A Lesson From Amish Country: Hearing The Buzz

We drove to the outer edge of the Amish community and shut our radio off– it just seemed the right thing to do, entering a place that calls itself quiet and calm.

Light brown dust rose up to baptize our car, and we were covered in peace.

We passed the hay, piled instead of rolled, because here there are not machines but hands. There is not empty busyness, but solitary work.


I’ve been here before, but I was pregnant with Eliot, so my memories are covered in a haze of exhaustion and nausea.

But this day was clear to me, and I prepared my heart for the task of experiencing another culture of people only 20 miles from the town where my in-laws live.


I saw a beagle resting beside an old woman. She peeled vegetables, and as I got out of the car, I thought about what music I’d be listening to, doing such work. Ben Howard Pandora station? Pride and Prejudice soundtrack? Iron and Wine. Something to make me feel…still, sentimental.

But here there is no Pandora. The loudest noise is the buzz of the dozens of humming birds who gather with their friends around trees and feeders filled with bright red nectar.

How have I never noticed their buzzing?

We talked about the good weather– gentle breezes always bring people together. We ate fried gooseberry and black raspberry pies.

We saw goats herd across the yard, their voices beckoning Eliot to the fence.

Our culture does not hear stillness; we perhaps do not even recognize it, because our ears are full of celebrity gossip and Facebook updates; of bitter news rolls and blaring explitives. We hear baby cry and coo and life’s last breath, and everything in between.

Noise can be anything, and quiet can be found anywhere we want to search it out–

in the back corner of a cafe, behind the wheel of our car, in the deep of our homes where our children run and play.


The humming birds still hum, whether we hear them or not, and God is still God, His buzzing greater than our inability to get quiet and listen.

And in the presence of this unfamiliar culture, I felt small and still, because I didn’t know any better.

So with God I feel– small, still, most certainly safe in His able hand.

May we hear His buzz as the din of our hearts grows quieter, the road narrowing as our radios switch off and we succumb to stillness.

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