Every once in a while, I wonder why we decided to move our little family halfway across the country—why we decided to leave behind our house, extended family, jobs, schools, and a giant patch of black raspberries in our back yard.
Christina, here, writing about this week’s reasons why.
My week started off with a game of Capture the Flag on Sunday afternoon. Of the many ways that we play here, this is perhaps my favorite. Kids and adults sprinting along the paths, hiding behind buildings, chasing each other and screaming and laughing. I don’t remember which team got more points, but I do remember Hassan’s long legs taking him and the other team’s flag across the border. Being able to go outside my house, run around and laugh for 45 minutes or so with 8 other friends, and then walk right back to my house with no driving, little coordinating, and no additional stress to my schedule is a great reason to move here.
Last Monday was cold and rainy—it was a good day for meetings. As we gear up for the season, getting ready for tours and visitors and new residents, we’re busy figuring out how to make their experience here the best it can be. So I had a meeting with the tour guides, and a second meeting about how to be a liaison for new residents.
It might seem strange to say that meetings are a reason to move here, but when you’re living in an intentional way with the people around you, it means lots of talking about how things should be done. It also means lots of listening and learning from other people. That’s not necessarily something that’s always valued in mainstream society, so I am glad to go to meetings. It’s worth it to me to move halfway across the country so that I can talk to other people and figure things out.
Tuesday was probably the best game of Ultimate frisbee of the season. I’m not a sports person, and I hate running, and yet I love playing Ultimate. I never feel anything less than completely welcome and accepted when I play. No matter how many times I miss a catch or throw the frisbee off into the field, the other players are thrilled when I show up to play. And I feel the same way about anyone new who wants to give it a try.
Besides the extra community vibes, sweating for an hour is a great way to get some cheap therapy. Problems don’t matter quite as much after a good workout. It’s not that it was impossible to exercise in my previous life, but it wasn’t ever quite as much fun, and it definitely wasn’t so convenient.
Wednesday night was another special song circle. It was raining again, but we trekked over to Red Earth Farms to sing around the table at Gooseberry. Alyson had filled the house with candles and lamplight, and we sat around in a circle singing new songs and ones we’ve known for a while.
I’ve written before about how much I love to have singing in my life, so I won’t go into it all again. But when I think about what kind of coordination, driving, and tiredness would have accompanied a similar type of night in my old life, I realize that I am very glad that we packed everything up and drove those thousands of miles last year.
Thursday night was Pizza Night. I worked behind the counter making pizzas at the Milkweed Mercantile for the second time. It was a super busy night, and I spent three hours getting pizzas in and out of the oven as fast as I could. I didn’t get much time to look up from the containers full of pizza ingredients, but when I did, I saw friends from the tri-communities and locals from Memphis and other nearby towns, and they were all having a good time.
I’ve always loved cooking, and being able to contribute to people’s special night out of the week is something that I couldn’t have done in my past life, when working my one full-time job consumed pretty much all of my time and energy.
Friday was a tiny but pleasant community dinner. In fact, it was just our family plus Alyssa, Bear, and Zane, and a slightly late Thomas. We ate our regular old food, talked for 45 minutes or so, and then went home to get ready for bed. Soon enough we’ll have the big community dinners of summer, when circle up is outdoors and consists of 30 or 40 people, when the common house and courtyard picnic tables are full of conversation, and when dinner might spill into a bonfire or an after dinner swimming session. But for now, we had a quick dinner, a few laughs, and went home.
Simple, low-key socializing is probably one of my favorite reasons for living here, and so worth everything that we’ve left behind.
Saturday, I got to see a goat parade. I was busy pulling weeds in the garden, when I looked down Crooked Route and saw Mae leading a group of brand new goat kids, walking with their moms and Donkey. As you might imagine, this adorable parade added more kids (of the human kind) who were more than happy to carry some of the baby goats. Nobody moved very fast, but they were all cute beyond words, and also pretty hilarious.
When we lived in the suburbs, if we wanted farm animals or other children for my own kids to play with, we would have to get in the car, drive, park, and maybe even stand in line or buy something. Now, the fun comes to us. And I can even keep working on my weeding at the same time.
It’s become easy recently to take this life for granted, to forget how special it is, and how wonderful it is that my kids will have the privilege of growing up here. When I get so busy teaching homeschool or rushing to Pizza Night or scheduling meetings (or trying to finish this update before the deadline), I don’t always stop to feel thankful for everything that I have.
Life here isn’t always easy but it is always pretty great.
Want to come check it out for yourself? Besides our workshops, visitor sessions, and work exchange, we also offer tours, and the first tour of the season happens this Saturday, April 8th, at 1 pm! Public tours of the village happen regularly, on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, April-October. Tours are free, though donations to help us continue our educational and outreach efforts are gratefully accepted.
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) .