Caring for Each Other: A Dancing Rabbit Update

Aaron harvesting the first heads of cabbage for the season. Thomas's hand-hewn work shed stands in the background. Photo by Rae.

Aaron harvesting the first heads of cabbage for the season. Thomas’s hand-hewn work shed stands in the background. Photo by Rae.

“Tereza!” Ted yelled when he saw me, “You are the last person I wanted to see here!”

Not might sound warm or caring to you, dear reader, but it was. Let me set the scene…

A number of Spiral Scouts and parents were camping out near the new pond on Saturday night, and while it had been announced that they’d be having a bonfire that all were welcome to, by the time it actually rolled around I’d forgotten all about it.

It had been a long hot day, so I decided to take a solar shower. As I was sudsing up, I wondered at the odd noises (for that time of the evening, at least) coming from the pond.

Light bulb! I remembered the bonfire and decided to head over and check it out. It was a mellow scene. The scouts and parents had already eaten: hot dogs and some berries they’d picked earlier and maybe even marshmallows (none were sighted in my time there, so I assume they were devoured quickly), and the kids were daring each other to try mustard on graham crackers. Which of course then became the snack du jour (or would that be soir? French isn’t one of my languages), which I recuse myself from comment on, because I had zero interest in even trying it.

The fire was mostly coals before Bear added a log, Mark was playing banjo, some folks were singing, some of the kids were carrying smoking sticks over near the tents to try to scare the bugs away… and then we heard a hullabaloo close to the pond, and most of the remaining kids raced over to see what was happening. (Loud = fun, right?)

Turns out Ted had gone home to retrieve some firecrackers, including sparklers that make a lot of noise. The kids were happily enjoying the sound and light show as I, having already decided to head home, walked past. At that point Ted spotted me, and delivered the line with which I began this weekly update.

He then added, “I know you hate fireworks and you weren’t here when I left to go get them, and I was so sure you wouldn’t be able to hear them from your house! I’m so sorry!”

So his statement, which may have sounded unkind to someone without the proper context, was actually an example of Ted caring for me, and that’s exactly how I took it. I told him that I don’t actually hate fireworks, and that these were nowhere near as loud and annoying as they’d been made out to be. I didn’t stick around for long after they started, though, taking my leave after a brief chat with Alyson about current events.

All of which got me thinking about how we care for one another, here in our community and in the wider world. The shootings that were so much in the news landed heavily in my heart, and stand out as a major happening in the week for me.

I feel so much anger, sadness and despair about it, and while I saw a lot of support for the communities impacted, the violence itself, and the hopelessness and rage stemming from it, still feel so overwhelming to me. I am incredibly appreciative of the support I have in my community and the friends who listened to me, and held my hand while I cried and raged.

And thinking about caring and support, of course I think of Dennis and Sharon, and the difficult times there are going through. I am grateful to be able to support them in the ways I can, as are so many in the community. Besides the core support team of Hassan, Alyssa, and Erica, who take turns checking in with Dennis and Sharon to find out what they need and either doing tasks themselves or delegating tasks to others. ‘Most everyone is helping in some way: doing regular chores, giving rides to the doctor or hospital, helping with paperwork and communication with distant friends and family, bringing food, or dropping by to spend time with Dennis so Sharon can get out for a bit, or take a shower, or just try to relax.

Seeing the care in our community, and especially the love between Dennis and Sharon in this challenging time, is beyond heartwarming; it reaffirms my faith in all of us.

As does seeing the ways that people in other communities, with so much history and hatred between them, are reaching out to try to care and connect. Can we be there for one another, no matter how big the differences between us? I think we can. And yet it can be so astoundingly hard.

I feel very lucky to live in a place that comes together to provide support in the most difficult times. Are we doing everything perfectly? No, of course not. But we’re doing our best, and at the end of the day that’s all any of us can do.

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In other news of the week, there’ve been quite a few guests, as well as a number of Rabbits off on travels, so both new and missing faces are a regular occurrence. I really enjoyed meeting Sharon’s brother Dan and his family, who stopped by for a quick visit on their trip cross-country, and joined us for dinner in Ironweed kitchen one night.

Before he left for a long trip, Nik hosted a movie night in the Mercantile, showing a Miyazaki film. I wasn’t in the mood for a movie so went to song circle instead. Alyssa, Kassandra, and Jasmine were also there, so maybe it was a song square? Regardless of the shape, it was fun to share new songs with Kassandra and Jasmine, and to learn a few from them as well.

Maybe it hasn’t yet been mentioned that Kassandra, Jasmine, and Kaylyn, who’ve been in Boulder for the last many months, are back at DR for the summer. I’ve been enjoying their presence, and am hoping for many repeats of the fun evening story time we had this week.

The new mural on the outdoor kitchen/bike world building is looking fabulous— I saw Nik working on it a lot this week and one side of it looks almost done. I can’t wait to see it completed, and remain grateful to Nik and Scout for the amazing art they bring to the village.

Sara enjoyed a stint helping coach the swim team, which many tri-community kids are part of and fills much of their time in the summer. She said she felt a little mean telling them to do even more laps, when they’d already done so many. Practice makes perfect, though, so maybe it helped to think that it really is for their own good in the long run if they want to be better swimmers.

Finally, it’s the time of year to decide on the nonprofit’s Board of Directors. We’d already held a preliminary meting, where we talked about the knowledge and skills we’re needing on the Board at this time, and made nominations based on that discussion. The Oversight Team then found out which of the nominees were willing to serve, and we met as a full group on Sunday to decide on the best balance of folks to serve for the next year.

Congrats to Jess, Sue Ann and Cecil, who were re-elected, and to Stephen and Katherine, who are joining as new on-farm (aka Rabbit) Board members. With so many Rabbits away we had worried a bit about reaching quorum for the decision, but between the on-farm folk present and a number of proxies from absent Rabbits it all worked out. As promised in the previous meeting, Mae and Ben brought popsicles— which I’m sure had nothing to do with the high meeting turnout.

Signing off for now, with hopes that all of you are caring for each other the best you can, and appreciating the care and support you receive.

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Come learn more about how to care for each other, and the earth, at the Permaculture Design Course (PDC) happening at DR Sept 17-25. Don’t forget that there’s an early bird discount if you register before July 17th! Click here to find out more or here to register now!

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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.