Center of the Compass: A Dancing Rabbit Update

Almost all the Rabbits, posing in our annual group shot taken during a Retreat break. Photo by Illly.

Almost all the Rabbits, posing in our annual group shot taken during a Retreat break. Photo by Illly.

Hi friends,

This is Alline, with my last column for a while. I anticipate being busy working on the details of taking the Milkweed Mercantile from a sole proprietorship to a worker-owned cooperative. It is very exciting, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens!

Another week at Dancing Rabbit has flown by. Snippets that shine most brightly are: the hilarious puppet show that Mica and Thomas put on at the Mercantile in honor of Mae & Ben’s new baby (note: as of the time of this writing – Monday, 2/15 – the baby has not yet been born), which contained a zillion in-jokes and much silliness.

This week also saw the end of our annual retreat, where we did something named (very poorly, in my opinion) Open Space Technology (see? How appealing is that?), which may result in an official brewing cooperative (licensed for sale in the Mercantile!).

Then there was the night, at about 7:00 p.m. when we heard a car in our circle drive, honking honking honking. Stepping onto the porch to see what was going on, I heard voices yelling, “Fag!” Since here at Dancing Rabbit we don’t consider anyone’s sexual orientation an insult, we mostly let this sort of thing roll off our backs. Of course it helps that it doesn’t happen often, and that so many of our neighbors are kind and supportive, or at least “live and let live” types.

I was gone much of the week – I traveled to California for a funeral. These gatherings are always a time of mixed emotions; sadness at the loss of a loved one, and joy at seeing many members of my extended family.

I used to think of California as my home. Even though I’ve been at Dancing Rabbit for almost 17 years, I grew up on the west coast, and used to know the area like, well, the back of my hand. I miss large libraries, ethnic restaurants, organic food in grocery stores, abundant farmers’ markets, a wide diversity of friends and acquaintances, a multitude of languages and cultures, liberal politics…

And yet, on this last visit I had a sort of existential crisis. I became startlingly aware of how unsafe I often felt there, how grimy and dirty everything seemed, the constant noise, the traffic…

I thought of my home at Dancing Rabbit, where I feel incredibly safe, where I can see the stars at night and hear the birds. Where I know and trust everyone in my immediate community. Where many people have become excellent cooks, which compensates somewhat for the lack of restaurants. Where my voice counts, as do the voices of every person here. Where we treat each other with respect, and continue to strive to do “better,” whatever that might be to us.

I had to smile when I came across this quote:

“Home is not simply a mark upon a map any more than a river is just water. It is the place at the centre of the compass from which every arrow radiates and where the heart is fixed. It is a force that forever draws us back or lures us on…” (from Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth).

Sending good wishes and warmth to you at the center of your compass, wherever that may be.

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Thinking Dancing Rabbit might be the center of your compass, too? Check out ways to visit us in 2016!

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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.

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