For a steady few months now, I have been exchanging daily gratitudes with Sara via text. Often mine are inspired by writing first about what is not going so great with my life. And if you know my personality at all, you’ll know that one thing that is especially challenging for me right now is a lack of novelty. I want to do what I can to keep people safe, but staying at home and canceling events is not my favorite.
So it usually goes something like this: I start writing about how much I need to have something fun and new in my life; then I transition to writing about how some of those things just can’t happen right now; and then I end up writing about the benefits of living life the way I have to during a pandemic.
Christina here, writing about why I’m grateful for a lot of the same, and maybe even for a bit of boredom.
There is plenty that I’m missing right now: laid-back conversations over shared food in the courtyard; meeting in person in the common house to make decisions about hard things together; knowing what’s going on with people outside my little bubble; getting to know new people from all over the country who want to come here to learn about a different way of living.
Oh, and don’t get me started on how much I miss singing in a tight group of friends, listening to the ways that our voices combine together.
I think that we’ll get those things back some day… But a lot of what makes life at Dancing Rabbit so special for me is not happening right now and it can start to feel like Groundhog Day around here with the same routine week after week.
So once I spend some time mourning for what I don’t have in my life, it’s time to think about what I am grateful for.
There are lots of benefits to this lack of new and fun—I just have to look a little harder to see them.
I’m grateful that the kids have been happy to play the same games over and over at the pond. With the recent return of the hot weather, we have been visiting up to three times a day, and seeing them laugh and run in the water is just so sweet. I know that they are getting older so I really should appreciate these moments while I have them.
I’m grateful for consistent bedtimes. Usually, summer here is a blur of late-night social events from music after potluck to s’mores at a bonfire by the pond, but this year we have been in the house by 8:30 and usually go to sleep at the same time each night. This kind of routine isn’t as much fun, but I really have appreciated the effects of regular and sufficient sleep.
I’m grateful for early morning walks with our rambunctious puppy. I’ve seen the sun rise over the pond at least twenty times, or more like forty times, and that really doesn’t get old.
And since I have learned how great it can be to share gratitudes, I reached out to see what others here have been grateful for recently.
Cat says, “I am grateful for community and being safe but not isolated. I am grateful for summer produce fresh from the garden. I am grateful for our land and a rural life.”
Kurt is grateful for “Alline. Delicious and wholesome food grown right here in the village (given the amount of food insecurity in the US today). Two hundred and eighty acres to safely roam around in without fear of contracting the virus. The village park where we can socialize while staying socially distant. Low cost of living without fear of eviction. Dogs.”
Farmer John says, “I am grateful for such a caring and supportive community, especially after a recent major surgery.”
Claire says, “Living a life that is more focused on mindfulness than ‘the daily grind’ has allowed me room in my awareness to take in the natural world around me with more clarity. Yesterday I saw two indigo buntings and two goldfinches flying right across the road in front of me, dazzling and delighting me every bit as much as a fireworks show. Now every time I go down that path I stare intently ahead of me in hopes of another spectacular display rather than keep my eyes on my own feet.”
And Rusty adds, “I’m thankful for the beautiful weather and the tall sunflowers. I’m thankful for Prairie. She’s pretty rad. I’m also thankful for my work at SubHub. I really enjoy woodworking. Building the ceiling and window trim is really cool!”
Among all this sameness, last week, we did actually have a few new events. Personal storytelling time at outdoor happy hour has happened twice now, which means that maybe it’s a real thing. Around that time I am usually unwinding from the day by washing dishes and making dinner, but Max went by himself and told all of our favorite family stories. Like the one about the time that I snuck out of the grocery cart when I was three and ate the frosting off of a store cake, a story which is probably his all-time favorite.
Lauren started a socially distanced outdoor art class, originally intended for kids but attended mostly by adults wanting to get creative. I stopped by to check it out briefly before running away so that Emma and Max could get their non-parent adult time in, and it looked great. Plenty of inspiration and fun and maybe even some new artists.
This has not been a typical Dancing Rabbit summer by any stretch, and yet when I can figure out how to enjoy the quieter moments, I can be grateful for all the wonderfulness in my life.