I recently returned to my “Amish roots” for some research: Berne, Indiana’s sprawling Plain community. If you missed Part I, you can read it here. It was now time to visit the cemetery, the final resting place of Elizabeth Coblentz, the original Amish Cook. I visit here every few years, usually on warm spring days when the dandelions begin to unfurl their yellow blossoms and the children at the Amish school across the street play during warm May recesses. There’s something poignant and peaceful, almost comforting, about this cemetery and its as good a place as any to spend eternity. The one-room school-house across the street is a gentle reminder of the cycle of life, the young play, the old die and somewhere in between we live. But today this final resting place was frozen, snow spread over the verdant grass like thick frosting on a homemade cake. Many Amish cemeteries use stone markers to commemorate the final resting place of their dearly departed. But this conservative community outside Berne uses only wooden grave markers, etched with the initials of the deceased. It’s a powerful statement that these souls will spend death as they did life: unassuming and quiet. I come to this spot trying to connect with something, although I’m never sure exactly what. But on this day whatever connections are swirling in the spiritual sky are frozen, stiff a lead pipe. So I quietly trudge back to the warmth of the car, I’ll come back another day. A warmer day…..
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