Amish don’t wear deodorant: My 21st Century Monastic Experience Part 2

A river, the color of cold, slid quietly along the tracks.

Riding just south of the Canadian border in my thin Amtrak seat, the small towns flashing by my window look tired. The jagged peaks sheathed in snow are far behind, replaced by thin flat plains colored by dust. Spring emerges slowly here, with grey gusts from the north pushing back the color green. We pass “Dunkirk Cemetery” on the left. The weary stone grave markers lean toward the train. I tried to imagine a funeral there, but could only wonder at a black Hurst lumbering down the thin dirt threads of road, woven into prairie grass. A herd of Bison stand quietly, quite confident in their ownership of the land.

Somewhere during the night, as the train clambered across North Dakota, a group of young Amish travelers climbed on board. They add a distinct shade of black to our quiet grey car. It’s hard to pin down their age; they look beyond time, with faces fresh from hours outdoors, working with a mule to plow the rich soil of the North Dakota prairie.  

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