Three days after the      coup's defeat, with communism all but          buried, I came to  Canterbury to                 rummage          through lost    dreams.The houses rose like white        birch on the hill,    guardians of a vision             that still draws the tourists of New York       and Boston. Here they lived in families of         hundreds, sisters, brethren, celibate    and busy, putting "hands to work, hearts to God," packaging their       seed and crafting chairs               for angels. Somewhere on the grounds the last Shaker           sister ("a bit reclusive at   ninety-five") stays hidden      behind thick curtains           of memory.  Furtively, we      searched the windows   for a sign.In the laundry, amidst belts       and clever gears, the tour guide tells how Engels once cheered         a sagging Marx: "Think of the Shakers!"         words that now echo      through polished, empty     rooms. Dead dreams pile up like          New Hampshire leaves, but still   this ground feels hallowed,        for on the hill an idea, powerful as Moscow's      crowds, still speaks of purpose,                     of simple gifts   and sharing. Visiting Shaker Village after communism is overthrown in Russia Canterbury, N.H. September 8, 1991

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
Contact Bill Schechter
Website by Altolus Digital