Greetings faithful readers, and happy May Day!
Danielle here, writing to you from the most beautiful time of year here at Dancing Rabbit. There are a lot of times throughout the year here that probably rival each other in beauty, but this one is especially high in its existential upliftment effect due to the fact that I haven’t had to wear my winter coat lately when I go outside to pee, grab firewood, go to dinner, or the many other things I have to go outside for here. It’s finally warm, and if you read Ted’s column last week, or if you live anywhere yourself that’s experienced this persistent extended winter, then you may be able to imagine how much celebration and relief I feel in saying that. Warmth!
The peach tree outside the window of the Hermitage (my house) has tender pink flowers on it, the buds on our grape vine are beginning to protrude; and the irises, tiger lilies, daffodils, and the tulips I transplanted from my childhood home in Colorado are all bravely declaring with their presence that spring has arrived! Joy and optimism are in the air even as our to-do lists get longer with the launch of tours, workshops, visitor programs, and the many things outside that we’ve been putting off until the weather gets warm enough.
All who attended the successful mushroom log workshop on Saturday were grateful for the good weather, and Ted said they even had enough spores to inoculate more mushroom logs than projected! I am already grateful for the added bounty these mushroom logs will add to Ironweed’s future harvest. This weekend Bear and new resident Ryan, two steadfast members of the Men’s Group here, went to Kansas to attend a New Warrior Training Adventure put on by the Mankind Project. I look forward to hearing whatever they are willing to share about their experiences, since I’m a bit of a personal-growth-workshop fanatic myself and love to talk about new insights or perspectives gained through such experiences that in turn benefit the way we live our day-to-day lives.
We also saw the return this week of our friends Tereza and Nathan, finally back after their annual month-long trip to visit Nathan’s family in Texas. Since these two people are staples in my social diet here, I felt their absence acutely and it seemed like they were gone for such a long time! Their return seems to augment the gladness in the air, which feels additionally enhanced for those of us (including myself) who are finally recovering from the latest bug that swept the village.
Each of us here has our own combination of remedies we turn to when we get sick, including (but certainly not limited to) apple cider vinegar, chinese herbs, cold showers, hot showers, elderberry concoctions, Ironweed kitchen’s special blend of anti-plague, and such a plethora of herbal tinctures and teas that it would make any witch doctor jealous. My personal favorite go-to remedies when I’m feeling under the weather are orange juice and acupuncture.
While I can’t say that the oranges in my juice are local (this is one item I’m still grateful to the outside economy for), it is possible to get an acupuncture session here without ever having to get in a vehicle or leave the village. I get semi-regular acupuncture sessions with Melany who, in addition to her superhero skill as an acupuncturist, doubles as the Development Director for our nonprofit, CSCC. I actually think both of these roles are pretty superhero in nature. I like to imagine her going into a telephone booth (or around here, I guess it would be an outhouse) and changing out of her acupuncture cape after a session and into her burgeoning Development Director cape between the times when I interact with her in these roles.
She also goes home to take care of her four sprightly kids after every venture, which is worthy of a special superhero cape and award all its own. No doubt she’ll be wearing the Development superhero cape more this week as she gets everything ready for Give STL day (which is tomorrow!). Give STL day is one of the more fun and exciting opportunities of the year where you can make a difference by supporting our outreach and education work and be part of a larger online community that is all about championing the good work of nonprofits in this region. I’m hoping we can exceed last year’s record and raise over $5,300 tomorrow– will you help us?
It takes more than a village to get the word out that sustainable living is not just a good idea that could help preserve the planet for future generations, but also one that can lead a to more creative, meaningful experience of life which nourishes us in the present. And we all know, in our own way, that pitching in to help when we have the extra energy, money, or time makes life a little easier and a little better for everyone. For instance, I’m jumping in to make a special guest appearance amidst our regular rotation of weekly writers to give Tereza a little more settle-in time back home before it’s her turn to write. I’ve also had an unusual inclination to write lately, stemming from a desire to try to put some of my many ideas into words. This led me to make my first debut at writer’s group the week before last, and I’ll close with an excerpt from something I wrote, stream-of-consciousness style, in that venue:
“Be like water” the river told me. “Anywhere you go in your life, pay attention to your own current, for that is the main force, where your full vitality wants to go, and it will lead you ever forward if you follow it. Pay attention to your current, for within it is the tenacity to forge through sandstone, canyon walls, and rock obstacles of all orders of magnitude. Yet also,” the river said, “notice your eddies. Notice those places that swirl and turn and spiral off. These places are not linear and they rub against the main current. The edge between the eddies and the main current is dangerous- it can flip boats and overturn lives. Yet the eddy is the contrast, the exception to the rule, the place to come play if you want to know your sprightly mischievous nature again. Notice the eddies of your life and when you feel genuinely curious, cast off your rigid obedience to the clock, set down the orders you’ve internalized to ‘hurry up & get somewhere’ and set yourself free with me. Dance with me, the eddy, swirling in my pools, and I will dance you back into a playful youth, rejuvenating even your wrinkles into rivulets of light.”