All about our fine southeast PA neck-of-the-woods, a good Dutchman might say, if he had a mind to, "everything chusst sitz." I guess you could say the same about any locale. If one spends enough time in the same place, the local dialect starts to seep into everyone's mind. The accent of all the Moravians, Mennonites, Amish, Dunkards, and Schwenkfelders of old and present combine in a slow, steady, narrative thread in my head, "Aye now, everything chuussst sitz."
The tractor just sits. The snow just sits. The ice just sits. The disc harrow just sits. The spreader just sits. The chisel plow and the mold board plow just sit. The people just sit. The grauuunt (ground) just sitzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.Or so it seems as the winter drags on day by day. Daylight is more now, but the calendar is there to remind us of the 25 more days of this still season. But at this time the mind wanders (if let to??) to places both near and far. Just as the humidity of summer brings that sense of place back to the skin, winter in southeastern Pennsylvania gives daily vistas and clear wide-open horizons that offer solace to an otherwise frantic life. In his book, "This Common Ground," Scott Chaskey reflects evenly throughout the seasons in a truly poetic (albeit overtly romantic) manner.
What is it that is meant by the words "spirit of place?" We certainly mean to describe a physical setting--a field, a valley, a row of trees, a pond-- but can we agree on what spirit is?
All these things we look at. What a difference each new season's light brings to their perception by us. Over time, taken into our very depths, reflected on, breathed out again, new dawns awake. New things come out of old. The things are us and we them. Soon enough, they won't chusst sit anymore.
reflections from the southeast PA rural underground