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Mennonite Farmers

Mennonite Farmers

A Global History of Place and Sustainability
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Cocktails Inspired by that Odd Ethno-Religious Group You Keep Mistaking for the Amish, Quakers or Mormons
by S. L. Klassen
illustrated by Michael Hepher
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Tree of Life, The

The Road


We laced our hiking boots, grabbed poles,
stowed maps and bottled water in our backpacks.
A flag at half-mast made us pause, not halt.
A siren screamed. Our children asked:
Where are we going? Can we bring the dog?
We slammed the door, shielded our eyes
against the ascending sun.



At any point in time, in one hemisphere or the other,
a significant percentage of our planet's more than
seven billion people are on the move, travelling on
air, land, water, in an overcrowded Zodiac, firm
or flimsy aircraft, flat on the wind-buffeted top of
a container. They walk on washed-out roads, on
burning sand, on bleeding feet, cross tangled jungles,
climb mountain trails, bearing the unbearable weight
of a piece of bread, coins for something to buy,
someone to buy off. Children too sick or too little
must be carried on top of the weight of fear: that the
overburdened boat will capsize in the ocean swell,
pirates will climb on board, the plane will stray into
forbidden airspace and mysteriously disintegrate,
the train will be derailed, strength will fail. At the
border, there will be a wall.


We climbed the narrow trail. Streams of clear water trickled down
from pools we could not see. We sang travelling songs, told stories
about youth and love and bravery. Higher up, the air was thin.
Circling silently, the raptors waited for our steps to falter.
Clouds covered the sun.
Our children were hungry.

We came down from the mountain, entered a forest.
Sunlight filtered through shimmering aspen leaves,
the forest floor gold-dappled. We crossed a river
and arrived at the desert, the land of thirst. Our eyes burned.
Dust filled our mouths. Under our feet, sand shifted.
In this Lenten landscape our children cried for water.
We looked around for palm trees and acacia.
Where are the cypress trees? we wondered.
Where is the tree of life?

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The Constructed Mennonite

The Constructed Mennonite

History, Memory, and the Second World War
also available: eBook Paperback
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