I visited with my sisters this past weekend for a much needed break from the writing and nursing bizz. While I was there, we visited Shakertown, and you can't get much further from the computer age than that--or from any form of romance.
As you may know, the Shakers were a religious community who believed in simplicity and chastity. Separated from the world, they were very forward thinking in their attitudes toward the equality of the races and sexes and their pacifism, as well as their agricultural innovations and superb craftsmanship.
This particular colony at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky was begun in 1805 and endured through the Civil War until officially closing in 1910. I guess it's hard to keep a religion going on converts alone, and it's my opinion that the chastity thing was probably their undoing--it kinda helps to breed more members. Everything looks wonderfully peaceful and serene, but I wonder if there wasn't a bit of the usual conflict that occurs when people try to live together in harmony.
My elder sister was once a weaver, but I'm not sure she would have wanted to spin her own wool, though I could be wrong about that. Sitting at a loom or a spinning wheel was probably a good form of meditation, or a good time to daydream, though I have to wonder what the Shakers would have dreamed about.
I'm sure I would have enjoyed working in the herb garden and in this room, which must have smelled heavenly when the herbs were being processed, just as my own kitchen does when I do it at home. There's just something about growing your own medicine that appeals to me, and the Shakers were famous for their herbs.
The rest of the time I would have been out hobnobbing with the horses--along with my younger sister who has always been a bit of a horse nut. She's now a dairy farmer, and I'm sure her ability to work hard would have been appreciated by the Shakers.
I know this looks like this horse was very affectionate, but she was actually trying to eat my map of the village!
We finished our tour of the grounds with a stop by the lake. All in all, a very peaceful afternoon revisiting a much simpler time and place. I probably could have been happy living there--except for that celibacy thing. . . Not sure I could have done that. . .
In the end, I didn't sign on as a member, or even aspire to being one of the people who pretend to be Shakers. I just bought one of their brooms. ;-)