Saturday, September 12, 2009

Peace and Quiet

Quite often at the end of the day, when you reflect back on everything that has happened, you realize - this was a good day. It's a great feeling. But every once in a while, if we are lucky, it doesn't take "reflection" to make us come to this realization; instead, we pause, look around us and know that we are experiencing a great day. Today was one of those days for me.

Even though Bill and I had just wrapped up a hectic week we decided to take the kids on a special outing. Every summer we visit Rolling Ridge Ranch, and take the children on a covered wagon ride through 80 acres of breathtaking land filled with animals from around the world. The ranch is located in the heart of Amish country and is actually owned and run by the Amish. During the 45 minute drive it took us to get there this morning, we slowly left behind the insanity of suburban USA and entered a world filled with rolling fields and horse-drawn buggies. By the time we reached the ranch I was already starting to feel more relaxed and opted to leave my cell phone in the car, unwilling to risk an interruption into this tranquil world I had entered.

With great anticipation we boarded the large horse-drawn covered wagon and began our ride. For the next hour we rode through beautiful countryside where we fed Zebras, Llamas, Ostriches, Camels, and the list goes on. It was truly rejuvenating. The air was fresh and quiet and my family seemed truly peaceful. The elderly Amish gentleman who was driving the wagon told me that this trail has a powerful impact on all of its travelers. Many a person starts the trip off "grumpy" and quickly becomes peaceful and content.

Maybe part of the reason is the simplicity of nature or maybe it has something to do with the Amish themselves and kindness that they exude. When we were almost finished with our tour the driver said to me affectionately with a nod towards Will: "I have a 36 year old disabled son." This kind little gesture started a brief conversation about our special children that left me with a surprising life may be nothing like this Amish man's, and we may have very different values and beliefs, but we have one very important thing in common - we are both parents that love our children unconditionally and completely.

Now, I don't want to overstate the impact this trip had on me - I'm not planning on converting my family to Amish - but it was definitely a much needed break from the chaotic life that we live day in and day out. It was nice to slow down and just enjoy nature's beauty with the people I love.

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