As February frigidity gives way to March harbingers of spring, my life in the village has a more meta feel to it these days.
Avi here, writing to you from Dancing Rabbit in what will be my last article from the community.
The end of winter contains within it the opportunity to crystalize the wisdom gained from the previous year’s efforts and set a new north point for movement and growth in the coming year.
As a community, we are beginning to put plans that emerged from retreat into action, order and start seeds for our crops, and organize community excursions and activities for the coming year.
As an individual, I’m going through this same realignment process, on the scale of my life as opposed to the scale of the village.
My wife and I decided to make leaving Dancing Rabbit some time this year a goal of ours. I considered whether or not to write this article, given this current state of affairs.
Ultimately, I think it’s good for DR’s outreach efforts to accurately reflect the reality of the village, and one reality of our village is that the population is rather transient. More transient than small towns and cities across the country? I cannot say. But transient nonetheless.
New Rabbits come and go each and every year. And as everyone who moves here comes for a reason, everyone who goes leaves for a reason.
When people leave, it’s hard on morale. For one, the community’s mission statement is to grow to be a sizable village. We often speak about 500 – 1,000 people living here some day. Whenever someone leaves for one reason or another, the village shrinks further away from that goal, if only for a brief moment in time. Additionally, it’s rare for someone to live here for any length of time and not form a significant amount of deep and important relationships. We do a lot together, and share a lot with each other. For me, the hardest part of leaving will be no longer having the people I have grown so fond of in my life every day.
So why do people come? And why do people leave?
Every relationship, be it with a person or a place, is never entirely good or entirely bad. I moved to Dancing Rabbit not because I believed it to be a perfect place, but because I wanted to live with the tradeoffs of being here.
For the last year, my wife and I have traded the conveniences, comforts, and connections of a “mainstream” life for baby goats (being born as we speak), potlucks, carshares, and straw-bale houses. For some, that might not seem like much. For us Rabbits, these are the kind of things that make this lifestyle so rich and rewarding.
But the baby goats and the artisanal raw cheese, and the potlucks and the kitchen co-ops, and the carshares and the walkable village design, and the straw-bale houses and the mosaics set in earthen plaster – these things all come with a price, tradeoffs that have to be made when one chooses to live here.
And as it turns out, my wife and I don’t want to make those tradeoffs anymore.
We don’t want to live so far from our family in Florida, three and a half hours from the nearest major airport and an hour from the nearest train station. We’d like to live closer to a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school, outdoor recreation equipment, coffee shops, repair shops, hiking trails, government offices, and the like.
Some mountains wouldn’t be too bad. Ocean access. Maybe a forest?
And though we really like sharing, especially compared to the average American, I’m ready to share less. This isn’t because I hope to return to a life of over-consumption and owning my own everything. It’s because I don’t want to spend much more of my life energy making decisions with 30 other people about what to do with our land, infrastructure, culture, etc.
So, dear reader, perhaps reading this article might inspire you to consider: what tradeoffs do you want to make in your life? What problems do you want to have?
Of all the gifts our year at Dancing Rabbit has given me, perhaps top among them is a place to experiment with my creativity and face the limitations of my ambitions.
There’s many things we could do in life, and in the coming months. And truthfully, it’s an impossibility for us to do ALL of the things we could do.
Tradeoffs and sacrifices must be made. Limitless potential gives way to actualization.
Many seeds are cast. Fewer germinate. Fewer still bear fruit.
Would it interest you to build a natural home, build the soil using permaculture techniques, or perhaps build deep connections with others? We would love for you to come visit us sometime this year. Even if you don’t stick around forever, the things you learn in our community could help you along your path toward the life you want to have.