Many Hands Make Light Work: A Dancing Rabbit Update

Excavating a round foundation for Hassan's latest building project. Photo by Hassan.

Excavating a round foundation for Hassan’s latest building project. Photo by Hassan.

Oh, the lovely swirl of living in community… Despite the month I see named on the calendar, which usually means things start slowing down, there still seems to be a heck of a lot going on at Dancing Rabbit right now. Tereza here, with a rundown of community happenings during the week that was.

Rabbits have been busily prepping for winter (not least due to the arrival of the first hard frost), an upcoming Board meeting, an economic summit, getting approval for the nonprofit’s budget and programming for next year, and so on, not to mention everything else we do to keep our lives, homes, and families ticking along.

I’ll start with my obligatory weather report: it’s been absolutely lovely (by my standards)! Yes, it has been chilly at night (note previous mention of hard frost), but the days have mostly been unseasonably sunny and warm, which means I haven’t had to light a fire in my tiny house yet. Woot! I tend toward feeling chilly (and disliking starting fires) almost all the time, so for me this is very exciting. Seeing temps in my house easily reaching the upper 70s on a sunny afternoon with zero effort on my part makes me very happy.

I’ve also been enjoying watching Ted prep firewood for his house and the kitchen we share. Somehow I’m able to watch him and not in any way feel compelled to do my own firewood anytime soon. The image of a small child with her fingers in her ears humming “la la la” comes to mind… If only I pretend that the deep cold will never come, surely it won’t, right?

I’ve been pretty busy with my first ever National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo)adventure. The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. So far I am on target, but only because there’s no requirement that they be polished, high-quality words. The idea is to get them out of your brain and onto paper or screen so as to feel you’ve accomplished something. What I’ve got so far certainly qualifies as something. A big, wordy, unfocused something, perhaps, but I’m having a ton of fun with it, and that’s what it’s all about for me!

One new event that I think hasn’t been mentioned in this column yet, or at least not by its name, is Rabbit of the Week. Sharon and Hassan came up with the idea of putting the names of all Rabbits who wish to participate into a hat, and picking one each week. That person can then hold whatever special event they wish during that week, including the option to share their story with the community. Not too long ago in this space, Nik wrote about Katherine’s Rabbit of the Week event, a power-free fun/blackout evening. This last Friday it was Illly’s turn in the spotlight.

To a large and enthusiastic crowd in the great room he told the story of his life in relatively short form (he was trying to keep it to about half an hour so folks who wanted to watch the presidential debates would be able to do that as well). He shared vignettes both harrowing and hilarious, and since he used to work in the music and television industries also managed to drop some famous names. I for one really enjoyed it.

Hearing the people we live with talk about their lives before coming to Dancing Rabbit is both fun and helpful, I think, since it offers insight into them as people, and more understanding of who and how they are in the world. Living and working so closely with each other, the more insight into and compassion for each other the better, say I.

Hassan is Rabbit of the Week this week, and he’s offering a gravel-moving work party, which sounds like fun. Or at least one of those compelling “many hands make light work” experiences. He’ll also tell his story Friday night; perhaps you’ll hear more about that in next week’s update.

Speaking of the gravel party, I have yet to drop by in person to check out Hassan’s new project. I’ve been meaning to ever since I heard the excavator last week, digging the foundation. Judging by the noise, a lot was done. He’s been working on gravel moving on his own since then, though I heard some of the kids helped out as well. I hope a lot of folks come to the party this week, so we can watch the many-hands phenomenon in practice.

In other news, Ma’ikwe has been away for what seems like a very long time, finishing up her fall speaking tour, making presentations, and teaching workshops. I asked for a quick highlight from her trip and she said: “I’ve been present for the birth of two communities [in Boston and Asheville] this month… as in: have vision in place and I was there when the land deal was sealed. That’s been exciting!” She’s getting home this week and I look forward to her being back for a while.

Another event I took part in was a Shalom Retreat, led by a couple from New York. Those of us who participated did some intense emotional work in the loving presence of our community mates. It was profound for many of us, and I look forward to further exploration and connection along these lines with those of us who enjoy, er, maybe that’s not the best word… appreciate this kind of thing.

Finally, in other, fairly astonishing, news, the spirit of volunteerism appeared at the WIP (week in preview, i.e., our weekly planning) meeting on Sunday, wearing a big plaid blanket and rattling large rusty chains, to offer deep appreciation to new resident Brent for his work on technical (i.e., computer) issues in the position we lovingly call the TecTec. (No, I don’t know what that stands for anymore either, but I’m sure someone in the community will enlighten me seconds after this update goes out.)

Wishing you and yours a bright and beautiful November!

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Don’t forget! This Thursday, November 12th, our online education series continues with our fourth webinar: “How to Create a Successful Co-op: Sharing Your Table, Tools, & Transportation.” Sharing is not just a kindergarten skill, it’s essential for the planet! Cob Carleton, 8-year resident of Dancing Rabbit and sharer extraordinaire, will illustrate the strong connection between the art and science of resource-sharing and low-carbon living. Register here, check out the series’ promo video, or find more info here.

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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.