Its official: I have lived at Dancing Rabbit for a year. I’m so glad that nature reserved this wacky weather for my second spring and not my first. This time last year there was no last-gasp snowing or freeze/thaw/muck/freeze/repeat cycles in the month of April. I think I made a handful of fires last year in April; this year, a handful each week of April, so far. Liz here, rolling with the ups and downs of spring in the midwest.
When the days are warm, (and last week there were several days of downright hot) my son, Graham, and I spring into action getting the garden beds for Thistledown kitchen co-op ready for planting, and setting up Morel’s greenhouse with trays of seeds. Graham has been at DR barely two weeks, having moved here from California. As a part of our work exchange program, he gets to farm vegetables at DR for his room and board. We are some of the least experienced gardeners here, and yeah, there’s a bit of pressure to figure it all out. But as we trade moments of overwhelm, or laugh at the irony of finding ourselves transplanted to the midwest, there are also many emotional moments where I am overcome with gratitude and relief that he is here with me. Our family has been through a lot of changes in the last year and it feels like time to put that aside and consider what’s ahead for us in this interesting, compelling place.
Not doing my taxes has formed an anxious hum in the background of the last several weeks and as we hurtle toward that deadline, many other activities begin as well. Our first visitor session has begun and already there is a feeling of forward momentum as interested people from the group apply for residency. Recently, Cat and Alannah were both granted residency status and Ryan had his residency interview. We are excited to have their energy in the mix this summer.
A four-day yoga workshop also began; with me at the helm of the kitchen, cooking breakfast for the group of 10 at the Milkweed Mercantile. Cooking breakfast for workshops has become my niche, and I love it all from prep in the early morning quiet, to the rush of getting everything cooked and served on the dot, to keeping the coffee flowing. And every group that comes through the village for a workshop is unique. This group was very leisurely, and I enjoyed observing everyone leaning into relaxation. I had the chance to attend a “sound bath” one evening, where I sat back and let the sounds of exotic instruments and chanting wash over me for an hour. And now more people have been introduced to “Life Changing Bread”, Alline’s delicious recipe for gluten free bread, served with breakfast alongside homemade granola, Ted’s yogurt, and Alyson’s bread.
Before I moved to DR I spent a fair amount of time making a pros and cons list. The cons side was very short; consisting mostly of my regret for moving so far from my kids, my sister, and my friends. On the long list of pros were all the opportunities at DR for self-development. So in the spirit of moving out of my comfort zone, I found myself raising my hand at a meeting to volunteer to assist Sara with the inner sustainability workshop for the visitors. Although I felt shy at first, I was quickly drawn in by the subject matter and the brainstorming about different ways to become our best selves (one of my favorite topics!). It was a great way to get to know each other and to let visitors know that self-care and developing our human potential are an important part of living well in our community.
I will be traveling back to California yet again in a few weeks, this time to pack up the rest of my belongings and move them to Missouri. Several weeks after that I will be selling my Berkeley house. As I cut another tie to California, I feel more roots planting me at Dancing Rabbit and by association, to the midwest. This quote by Western Zen teacher John Tarrant describes what this last year has been like for me:
“When I meditate it’s like calling out a spell in a forgotten language. The spell slowly traces the outlines of a door, making the way out visible, even in twilight, even in the darkest, most forgotten prison. It’s important not to discount the idea that in a crisis you might be having the time of your life.”
If you’re ready to develop your human potential or feel a desire to establish roots of your own here at Dancing Rabbit, come experience a true ecovillage immersion during one of our Sustainable Living Visitor Program sessions!