I still admire many of the attributes of the Shakers, and hope that I can pass to my children an appreciation of their Utopian society. The only living Shaker community is just a few miles from my childhood home on Sabathday Lake in New Gloucester, Maine. I used to see the 5 or 6 members in my town as they shopped for groceries and made their runs to the post office. They were kind, mostly elderly folk who always had time for us children when we visited their museum and walked on their property.
The Shaker Anthem, "Simple Gifts" was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. These are the lyrics to his one-verse song:
- 'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
- 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
- And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
- 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
- When true simplicity is gain'd,
- To bow and bend we shan't be asham'd,
- To turn, turn will be our delight,
- Till by turning, turning we come 'round right. (Wikipedia)