Rugged Roads: American Gothic
In a realm untouched by the relentless buzz of technology, where the trappings of modernity are eschewed with unwavering resolve, exists a community that thrives in simplicity and tradition. Welcome to the Amish settlements of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, where a deliberate rejection of the contemporary is not just a way of life but a steadfast commitment to a bygone era.
Here, the Amish, persecuted and marginalized in Europe, sought refuge in the vast expanse of the United States during the early XVIII century. As one traverses through these agricultural colonies, a conspicuous absence of phones, computers, TVs, belts, ties, gloves, and, notably, electricity and cars becomes apparent. But most of all no selfies because striking a pose for a self-shot would be considered an unacceptable act of vanity.
Within each colony, governed by its own set of rules, a patriarchal figure, the bishop, holds sway. Mandates abound – men are mandated to cultivate beards, while the length of women's skirts is dictated by the watchful eye of the bishop. It's a lifestyle that stands in stark contrast to the idyllic notion of 'la bella vita.' Yet, amidst the rigid conformity, there exists a rite of passage known as Rumspringa.
Rumspringa, a sabbatical year granted to Amish teenagers, serves as a temporal bridge between tradition and the allure of the modern world. During this respite, they are permitted to venture beyond the confines of their community, tasting the comforts and excesses of contemporary life. The decision that follows is profound – return to the fold or sever ties with the Amish community forever. It's a choice with no middle ground, no room for compromise; those who opt for the latter embark on a journey of permanent estrangement, cutting ties even with their families.
Perhaps, it is the weight of this irreversible decision that leads a significant number of "Rumspringers" back to the familiar embrace of the Amish community. In a world where the relentless march of progress is omnipresent, the Amish stand as a testament to a lifestyle that remains steadfast, unyielding, and resolutely devoid of the superficial allurements of the digital age.