I’m often surprised at how much we (the world in general, including those of us living at Dancing Rabbit) rely on technology, bucolic rural location notwithstanding. Given what we know about the impacts of resource extraction, and the negative effects this has on our environment and indigenous populations, how much longer can we continue to pretend “everything is fine” and feel good about our personal tech and the power it consumes?
Cob here, bringing you the news of this past week at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. I do find myself sliding into grumpy-old-man territory more often as the work of my generation, and the harm it is causing to the world our Creator provided us, becomes ever clearer and dire. My discomfort with how things are can’t be blamed on those pesky kids either. I’ll tell you what, those kids are alright.
This past week flew by so quickly I’m sure I missed a lot of good bits, but a few of the highlights included Aurelia returning from summer camp sporting a new “do” and glowing over the many new friends she had made, and of course Sonic’s 5-year birthday bash celebration at the pond. It’s wonderful to see young folks grow into deeper understanding of the world around us, and to value the human connections they make along the way.
Over the past few weeks the SCR-1 Marching Band has been working hard to raise money for their upcoming trip to Washington, DC to represent Missouri in the next Memorial Day parade. The level of community support (through offering paid work for odd jobs) for these kids is nothing short of amazing, and the kids have really stepped up to the challenge. As a parent of one of those band kids, I appreciate watching my son respond and grow into the responsibilities he has been given. I also feel supported by the lessons being taught by the whole community: understanding the value of real work, working towards personal goals, and developing trust in your own abilities.
Hats off to Ellen Aylward and her work on facilitating this work. It’s not too late to join in the fun! Just look up the SCR-1 Band Student Job Bulletin Board group on Facebook. I know that the Band’s experience in DC will create memories for a lifetime.
Speaking of creating memories, the Milkweed Mercantile just finished hosting a “Preserving the Harvest” workshop, in which participants learned (or became reacquainted with) canning skills, the basics of fermenting, and tried their hand (successfully) at cheese-making. Their schedule was packed, and carefully orchestrated so there was no waiting around while the microbes worked their magic. The gales of laughter emanating from the kitchen certainly lightened my days.
The weather has been uniformly perfect for large-scale food processing, making even that chore more enjoyable. Thistledown kitchen now has a solid supply of locally-grown and -made hot sauce (in both vigorously-stimulating, and might-kill-you heat levels), a freezer full of blueberries, and the beginnings of a supply of sweet corn (in both dehydrated and frozen forms). I’m especially appreciative of the sweet corn, as I don’t have time or space to grow enough on my own. So thank you to the kids (you know who you are) who grew and delivered enough corn to feed this village for the next few seasons.
Seasons change, people grow, and sometimes we need to say “goodbye” before we’re ready. In only a few more weeks I’ll be delivering another one of my boys to college in Kansas City. And while the Art Institute is only four hours away, I’ll miss the daily interactions and shared experience. I’ll also then embark on a trip east to return a close friend’s child (he’s been hanging out here with me this summer) and I’ll miss him too. I’ll take a short break to visit with my own folks up Boston way before returning home to plunge back into the busyness of Dancing Rabbit.
I imagine there are nearly as many different perspectives on what our future looks like as there are people. Politically. Socially. Climatically. You name it, big changes seem to be brewing and fermenting. We each try to influence the culture as we believe best, but don’t really know what we’re going to get until it’s upon us. I often feel stuck between my strong belief that we’re only a few years away from massive and soon-to-be unrecoverable changes in our way of life on this planet and in this place, and my reduced-but-still-continued reliance on the very things that I believe are dooming us collectively. And when the weather is lovely, and I experience abundance in all the ways the truly matter, those fears all seem somewhat surreal.
This week’s image encapsulates this duality to some extent: there’s not-always-eco technology packed into a drone camera, yet it can capture amazing, compelling pictures that give a better sense of our village’s size and scale than a regular camera can. Our tools and devices are useful and certainly have their place, and yet they represent a destruction of sorts.
Dancing Rabbit has a statement of intent relating to the use of devices that feels like a step in the right direction: “We see value in devices and their uses (work, connection with family and friends, news, school, activism, entertainment, etc.). We also value activities and behaviors that support in-person connections within the village. We encourage you to use devices in places and at times that do not disturb connection between you and others or between others in your vicinity.”
I find hope in the sensibilities and developing responsibility exhibited by our youth, their passion for learning and sharing their knowledge, and in their faithfulness and moral compass. Yes indeed, those kids are alright and we’re darned lucky to have ’em.
Exciting news! We just received our lift dollars from the organizers of Give STL Day, a fundraising event we participated in this May, and we wanted to once again thank all our amazing supporters who maximized their gifts to our nonprofit by giving during that one-day event. We received $1100 extra dollars, for a grand total of $5500, exceeding our goal for the event this year! Thank you so much helping us and creating a more connected, cooperative, and compassionate culture!
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 (dancingrabbiticorg) .