The train ride started near the swollen, but not quite flooded Susquehanna River that flowed right through Harrisburg, the state capitol. After leaving the station and passing underneath a maze of overhead power lines, electrical transformers and metal connectors the train ride headed for greener pastures – literally.
At first glance, the countryside looked like normal fields, but a small team of horses pulling an old plow through the green terrain was a dead giveaway. I knew I was heading into the heart of the Amish country. Except for the team of draft animals the view from the train window was pretty normal. Only a pair of young Amish boys headed home from school broke the familiarity of the rural scene.
But these two were different. Instead of bicycles they rode small scooters which they pushed with one foot. The mechanical devices worked quite well, for with one powerful stroke of the leg, each boy was able to coast quite a ways along the side of the highway. Their movement reminded me of skateboarders, but their transportation had two wheels rather than four and the front handlebar was situated at waist level, several feet above the ground level.
Definitely lacking were the baggy shorts, oversized T’s and backwards baseball caps that skateboarders love. In their place the boys were dressy, blue cotton shirts and long khaki pants. Several books were tied to the back of the youths in a manner that resembled an old-fashioned satchel. From the safe distance I watched the boys as they nimbly glided down one small incline and then pushed their way back up the other side.
Seconds later, the scene had vanished, like it never happened. Their was no way to revisit the intriguing event, but somehow I could not stop wondering if I was looking at the past or the present. With our fluctuating gas prices, volatile oil supply and increasingly difficult foreign wars, I could easily imagine I was also looking into the future.