Hey there everyone. Jorge here; I’ve been thinking of how to start my story, and I have found no poetically inspirational words to impress you with, so I’ll just be straight with you. I hope that’s okay.
On my drive up to Dancing Rabbit I found myself daydreaming about what my experience would be like. I expected a stereotypical image of what I heard an “ecovillage” was: a bunch of hippies with thick dreadlocks, a peace-and-love culture permeated by body odor, and a disorganized micro political system that was susceptible to interpersonal drama. Upon arriving, I was honestly quite shocked. Body odor did not permeate the air, but the fresh untouched countryside vibe definitely did. It was quiet. Much more quiet than I was used to as a city-dweller.
Although nervous, I immediately felt that I was in a special place. A sense of goodwill washed over me, and infectiously led me to introduce myself to the first people I saw: other visitors from my session. The connection felt authentic and pure, just like the rest of the connections that followed throughout the course of my weekend stay. Every villager seemed to treat me like a family member, and had a special effect on my personal growth over a period of just a few days.
My visitor session was led by Sharon, a very kind-hearted person who took our group under her wing like a wise sage, guiding us throughout the village while patiently helping us grow and absorb information. Sharon led us to various special people. Ted taught us his permaculture knowledge in terms of agriculture and the environment; he made a serious case for the need to improve on our nation’s energy use, agricultural practices, and even homebuilding. Hassan taught us about the permaculture concepts related to living in community and interpersonal communication, helping us tune in to our fellow humans and improving our listening skills. He was also our teacher in natural building, who taught us how to mix ingredients for cob (earthen plaster made mostly of clay and sand), and how to apply it to a wall. It was truly a fun experience. Alline left a deep imprint on my heart as well, with her phenomenal kitchen management and cooking skills; she and her team fed us some of the freshest, most amazing food I’ve ever had in my life. It felt so good to eat seasonal foods, some of which were produced by the hard labor of the village, in such a loving and environmentally conscious manner.
Leaving the village was incredibly tough for me. Although I only visited for their ecovillage weekend experience, it made such a strong impression on me that I could no longer view the world as I had before my visit. I took the soil of my negative and self-destructive views, and with the help of the people of Dancing Rabbit, planted a seed of hope: hope for a better quality of life, hope for a better relationship between myself and the people I interacted with, and hope for the future of my local ecosystems. That short stay has led me to crave more, and has also led me to think about Dancing Rabbit on an almost daily basis. I miss that special corner of the world. It’s truly magical.
If you’re thinking about visiting Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, make the commitment and go spend some time with them. You certainly won’t regret it. Visiting them was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I hope someday you can say the same.
Jorge works as an aircraft technician at the 142nd Fighter Wing out of Portland, Oregon. His mission is to defend the western coastline. His passions are self sustainability, organic farming, painting, practicing permaculture principles when possible, eco sustainability, helping those in need, and just about any activity involving nature.