By the time you read this it will likely be November, with less than a week remaining until Election Day, and the weather forecast suggests that I’ll be out in my garden still harvesting tomatoes, brassicas, hot peppers, and green beans, in my summer togs no less.
Cob here, trying to remain calm and focus on the continuing stream of fresh vegetables, rather than the ever increasing number of above average temperature days here in Missouri. Sure we’ve had a couple light frosts, but nothing cold enough to actually end the growing season, or require much in the way of firewood yet.
Living as intimately with our environment as we Rabbits do, such changes are noticeable. Of course there are the expected anomalous days or seasons, but a quick glance through my gardening logs shows that in general I have planted earlier and continued to harvest later each year over the past decade. I can’t help but wonder what this will mean over time, particularly for those favorite perennials that require an extended deep freeze as part of their annual life cycle.
I’m finding this unseasonably warm autumn adding to the general surrealism and chaos of this particular election cycle, social unrest around the world, and the disproportionately militarized responses to peaceful protests here at home in our own country. I don’t like feeling this unsettled and powerless, and it’s all too easy to get caught up in the online clangor and chaos, which makes me feel even worse. So I’ve been spending more time this week focusing on the little things.
This week that has included saying farewell to our final group of visitors for the season, and feeling excited that several will be returning as new residents in the spring, if not sooner. I’ve been enjoying my few afternoons each week bartending at the Milkweed Mercantile, learning about my neighbors successes and frustrations with their goals and dreams. I’ve learned more about pigs, different kinds of grasses, and personal hygiene experiences than I ever anticipated.
We’ve all been enjoying the warmth and sunshine, however strange it seems, playing ultimate frisbee and capture the flag, stacking firewood, making progress on home construction projects, and lying outside watching the stars. Sharon hosted a lovely evening of games for all ages at Robinia, with the notion that it become a regular event through the slower winter months. Given how much folks seemed to enjoy themselves, it seems like a sure thing.
I’ve even made some progress on buttoning up the house for winter, but haven’t really felt pressured enough by the weather to finish. The final storm windows probably won’t go up until it’s cold and windy enough for me to kick myself for not competing the job sooner. Meanwhile the fresh breezes are nice. The extended growing season has meant that my brussels sprouts (which I put in relatively late this spring) are plumping up nicely. All they need is a hard freeze to sweeten them before harvesting.
I’ll let Ted tell you all about our annual Halloween Progressive Fiasco in next week’s column, but I wanted to offer some public appreciation for all the Rabbits and other citizens who are supporting those caught up in an entirely less fun sort of fiasco: the North Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Many have been involved in both the Mississippi Stand actions closer to home in Iowa, and at Standing Rock in North Dakota. I thank you all.
Regardless of how anyone views our national energy policy or defines our energy security needs, in my opinion the ways in which these latest pipeline projects have been implemented are ethically, legally, and morally wrong: depriving generations-long family farms of their land through inappropriate (and likely illegal) use of eminent domain, as has happened in Iowa; breaking our own Federal Treaties and ignoring the legal sovereignty of Native American tribes; and applying aggressive military force against unarmed and peaceful protesters. All for the direct profit of a few oil companies and their banks.
I’ve found my peace within this particular storm through supporting those who are directly engaged in these protests. Taking on additional tasks at home, filling in gaps so that they can participate, has felt good. I’m taking the same approach with politics. I can share my perspective, and not respond to the name-calling and demonizing that has replaced any actual discussion of policy proposals or fact-based analyses. I heard recently that Missouri was one of the top three states for political ad spending this year. I’ve never been more glad to be TV-free!
Finding calm when storms of all kinds rage around is hardly a new challenge. We humans have always struggled to find a balance between accepting and challenging, between resigning ourselves to fate or battling against it. As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet: “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them…”
May you find spaces of calm in the storms of your life when you need them.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and nonprofit outside Rutledge, in northeast Missouri, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Find out more about us by visiting our website, reading our blog, or emailing us (dancingrabbiticorg) .