Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A Sunday glimpse of the Amish August 1, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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ON A RECENT RETURN TRIP from eastern Wisconsin, I spotted more Amish than I’d ever seen in the past. It was a Sunday. They travel on Sundays from farm to farm for church services and visiting.

In the Wautoma/Coloma area along Wisconsin State Highway 21, buggy wheel tracks and horse droppings along the shoulder of this busy highway clued me in that the Amish had been out and about.

Amish, 190 horse & buggy close-up

It took some editing to salvage this single photo of a lone Amish man guiding his horse and buggy along Wisconsin Highway 21.

On this late Sunday afternoon, my husband and I saw a group of Amish young people packed into a wagon stopped at a side road. Their sudden appearance caught me by surprise, thus I missed photographing them. But a short distance farther, a lone buggy traveled along the opposite lane and I fired off a few frames through the dirty, sun-drenched windshield of our van. Certainly not optimal conditions for photography.

All motion, our van traveling at 70 mph and the Amish buggy much slower.

All motion, our van traveling at 70 mph and the Amish buggy moving slowly along the interstate frontage road.

My next Amish sighting came more than two hours later across the border in Minnesota. Along Interstate 90 in the St. Charles area, a sizable group of Amish gathered in a field. They were too distant for photos or even determining their activity. But I did manage to photograph a buggy moving along a gravel road parallel to the interstate.

What a contrast in this scene: modern and Amish.

What a contrast in this scene: modern and Amish.

And then I noticed shocks positioned in a field by Amish farmers.

Nearing the field full of shocks...

Nearing the field full of shocks…

Why am I so fascinated by the Amish? I think perhaps because they give me a glimpse in to the past, in to simple times when hard work, faith and family were valued by almost everyone. Although I know their worlds are not perfect, I admire how they can resist worldliness and hold true to their way of life.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


27 Responses to “A Sunday glimpse of the Amish”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    You are not alone in your fascination of the Amish. There are a lot of folks who are intrigued by their simpler lifestyle and religion. They do have beautiful farms, don’t they?

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    “a glimpse in to the past, in to simple times when hard work, faith and family were valued by almost everyone” I completely concur. A truer sense of community to me as well; looking out for each other.

  3. Debi Maxson Says:

    have you noticed different areas/groups of Amish wear different colors? I have seen Amish communities in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Missouri and the basic two colors of black and brown dominate but the colors of shirts and bonnets and such differ…..light blue, off white, medium blue, white.

  4. I used to enjoy going to Amish country in western Pennsylvania with my family. The Amish cheese factory was a favorite stop — such good, fresh cheese. My uncle knew quite a few Amish folks since they all lived in the same area. As for photos, I think they prefer not to be photographed, so I have never tried. I think my dad took one buggy picture one time. One of my favorite memories of the Amish was a scene I saw down a country road in Indiana: an Amish man and his two young daughters riding their bikes home. It was charming.

    • You’re right about the Amish preferring not to be photographed. I’ve only done so from a distance. When up close to the Amish, as in visiting an Amish farm and also buying from a roadside stand, I have respected their desire not to be photographed.

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    I like Dan’s comment about “a sense of community” and “looking out for each other”. What a wonderful country/world it would be if we practiced that globally.

  6. Jackie Says:

    Great captures Audrey! Another fascination that you and I share! I was up close and personal on an Amish farm with my dad, the very farm he was born in 80 years ago. The old Amish grandma pointed to the far corner of a bedroom and said, “back there is where the twins were born’ (referring to my dad and his brother….so cool!!! It about killed me not to photograph everything in sight.

  7. What impresses me most about the Amish and their lifestyle is the younger generation that resists the temptations of the modern technological age that surrounds them! Traditions are lost in most societies eventually, so it is gratifying to see them continued by the Amish youth.

  8. Valerie Says:

    I am also smitten by the Amish. My husband grew up in Amish country in southeastern PA and his “next farm” neighbors were Amish. It is an interesting culture.

  9. I would have loved to been along on that trip. I think my fascination with the Amish is just the same as my fascination of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Simpler times

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