Melany

DSC08687 copyI first visited Dancing Rabbit, as a guest of my close friend Tamar, in 2000. Back then, there wasn’t much to see and there were just a handful of radical thinkers making it all happen. I originally thought they were nuts.

Fast forward 15 years and I am happily making my home here amongst some of those original Rabbits that I met along with lots of new Rabbits who have found their way here over the years. It turns out, I have become more radical and DR has become less radical in ways that makes it a perfect fit for me.

I am from Central MA, the youngest of three kids born in suburbia with a fairly middle of the road upbringing. I always felt a little different growing up, with a particular sensitivity to animals and the Earth. I spent as much time as possible with animals and outside, really thriving at my grandparents’ small farm and in the White Mountains of NH where we had a small cabin with no electricity or running water. Some of my favorite memories involve these two places.

I studied Wildlife Ecology at the University of Maine and worked on the Mexican Gray Wolf Project in AZ straight out of college. I hiked, camped, and worked with endangered gray wolves for several months in an extremely remote area of AZ. While driving back cross country after this job, I visited my friend Tamar at DR and got my first taste of Ecovillage life. There were only a handful of buildings at the time and it was a huge culture shock for me to see a humanure system, only locally available food, and dealing with the discomfort of an extremely humid summer in Northeast Missouri. It seemed like a huge sacrifice for everyone to live this way and I certainly couldn’t see myself fitting in at the time.

Over the years, I started shifting even further away from mainstream life. I stopped watching TV (which was significant for me, since I was certainly an addict), started eating local whole foods, stopped shaving, had homebirths, homeschooled, raised chickens and organic vegetables, canned jams and pickles, and became an acupuncturist. I had slowly adapted my life in a way that was much more in line with what the folks here at DR were doing.

Even though I really love New England and found a wonderful solace in the Pioneer Valley in Western MA, I found that I was really profoundly lonely. I was doing mostly everything I wanted with my life and still something was missing. All the like-minded people around me were just as busy as I was and not able to connect on a level that felt meaningful. We were all too busy, too stressed, too broke, and caught up in a consumer world that felt hollow.

Unfortunately, Tamar passed away in 2010 so just about the time I was really seriously considering a move here, my close friend was not going to be a part of it. I am forever grateful for her paving the way for me to visit in October 2013 and eventually move to DR.

We made the big move to DR in April of 2014. After a 4 month residency at DR, we moved to Red Earth Farms, a neighboring homesteading community. My husband and I wanted to see if having less shared infrastructure and more solitude would be a better fit for us. We loved the people and the land there, but ultimately decided that maybe what wasn’t working was actually our marriage. We decided to get a divorce and I moved back to DR with our three girls to see how it would work for us. It has been a wonderful choice.

I have fulfilling work, the girls have full, vibrant days filled with homeschool cooperatives, playdates, and lots of time to explore, and we love the balance between our private and social lives. We now can do everything we used to in MA, but we don’t have to do it alone.

We are building the life of our dreams here, with chickens, gardens, close friends, and eventually a small house. I wouldn’t have it any other way.