In our modern time of gadgets and things I find myself often wishing for a simpler life, something more serene and connected to each thing that I do. I also fully realize that this is pure fantasy, but a nice one nonetheless. We visited a Shaker village in New Hampshire and I was in awe of their lifestyle. Separated from the outside world, they spent their time working and creating. Despite living in a closed community, they were innovative and early adopters of new technologies, being the some of the first to have electricity and running water.
The Shakers were also highly organized: everything had a place and a number, everyone had a job and a schedule. I imagine some might find this tedious but I adore this sort of order. While on the outside it seems more complicated, it does make everything simpler. Order in every day tasks leaves room for creativity in other places.
I imagine many think the Shaker lifestyle is extreme, which is easy to say for a celibate community that separates men and woman in all things. Yet in their separation there was equality between the sexes, something that was much more radical in the late eighteenth century when they were founded, but is still lacking in our modern culture.
Visiting this historical homestead was enchanting and provoked much contemplation on more modern intentional communities. I wonder if there is a place for such lifestyles in the world today or if we will forever be relegated to cities and small towns.