This is one of the traffic signs in my neighbourhood:
Get it? Neighhhhh-bourhood. Or neighborhood, if you’re Stateside. There are many Mennonite farmers in this area. Traditional Mennonites, like the Amish, who eschew modern conveniences such as cars, motorized farm machinery, electricity, computers, zippers, buttons, pockets, dancing*, perhaps, and telephones (although I’ve seen one Mennonite man who comes to the park regularly to use the public phone booth). The farmers work their fields with horses and the families travel around the highways and sideroads in horse-drawn custom-made buggies, complete with a large orange “yield” sign affixed to the back side. There are farriers, harness makers and buggy “manufacturers” (the old-fashioned way, building them one at a time, I presume) in amongst the many farms along these back roads I drive to get to-and-from my trailer, and I was thrilled the first time I saw one of these signs at the side of the road.
The signs, of course, are meant for motorists, the people who have not given up their modern conveniences in the name of God or to follow a simpler way of life. We’re supposed to pay attention to the possibility of encountering a slow-moving vehicle and remember that we share the road with them. We don’t own the road, as it seems some of those drivers believe is the case. We are meant to give them wide berth so as not to spook their horses, and overtake them cautiously and safely. Not as I’ve seen some do.
What I am starting to think though is that these signs are actually a “sign” for the rest of the world that we also need to slow down, take our time, and not feel we need to reach our destination first. Life is not a race, it’s an experience in which we should be involved and enjoy while it lasts … because, you know, I have it on good authority that this life we are enjoying is not going to last forever. If you believe there’s an afterlife, good for you, but then you should be slowing down too – for God’s sake. I personally am not a believer, but I do still get the message these signs convey, because it’s good practice for everyone!
As the song says … Slow down, you move too fast …
You are most welcome here! Enjoying the view with me from my trailer or verandah.
*I highly recommend reading Darcie Friesen Hossack’s great collection of short stories, Mennonites Don’t Dance (Thistledown, 2011)