March 4, 2012

I have heard many cries in the distance this week, ranging from “Bent Raising” to “Ultimate Frisbee”. These warmer days have afforded an opportunity for not only more work, but play as well. After the responsibility of retreat (intense meetings for 2 weeks), it seemed that people wanted to subsequently rejoice in the benefits of living in community. Julie here for this week’s column.

The biggest event this week (and definitely the most fun in my humble opinion) was the grand opening of the Casa de Cultura. Bear has been working tirelessly on completing this beautiful structure, with an eye for aesthetics and fine detail. I was very impressed! Rachel is the dancer whose vision has been materialized in the form of this dance hall’s completion. Inside, the wall-length mirror doubled the perceived size of our community as we contra danced and cake-walked (think musical chairs with cakes as prizes). Some of the chair antics had people laughing so hard they were in tears. I had so much fun at the opening that I had to wonder at the power of community and sugar when combined. A spellbinding unification, that. We had a game of Charades, with Nani, who just gave birth last week, acting out the phrase “Homebirth, Naturally”, which is the name of the Midwifery company here at Dancing Rabbit. Her beautiful newborn daughter Abigail is such a perfect angel, and she blessed the evening with her radiant presence, and might have even enjoyed Tony and Nani’s rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” on karaoke. To see all of the happy and smiling faces was cause for such jubilation for me, and I personally wouldn’t argue against a weekly grand opening.

The Silver Maple trees have slowed their sap flow for the time being, but we have our fingers crossed that we’ll have one last sugar run before they stop completely. Between Dancing Rabbit, and Sandhill Farm, we have collected about 850 gallons of sap. That equates to about 17 gallons of delicious maple syrup to divide amongst whoever wished to participate in the tapping, collecting, and boiling of the sap. This is something I’ve wanted to do for many years, but was unable to do before coming here to DR, so you can only imagine the overwhelming gratitude I have at this time. I admit that pouring the clear sap into the stainless steel boiler was actually fun for me, and I would do it all year long if nature permitted.

Joining the ranks are four more residents applying for membership just in the past 30 days. It’s exciting to witness progress, since our efforts to build the new Common House are going to support members as our numbers swell. With 11 new residents arriving in Spring to join the existing residents and members, we are looking forward to exciting growth to add to the plethora of skills and contagious enthusiasm already present here in the village.

Many of us have started some of our seeds with the mindset of warm sunny days that are scything a path to us as you read this. I love the approach of Spring, because it is an irresistible metaphor for renewal, growth, love, perseverance, and the passing of the torch to the next generation of life. If I had the privilege of a seasonal request, (premature though it may be) mine would be for us to delight in this epic chapter of the cycle of life, and to mark its passing with a prolonged bow and nod–but preferably a song and dance–to acknowledge it for the wonderment it truly is. There is a Spring in each of us, and I hope that you may find it full and alive, leaping wildly in the recesses of your heart, and unfettered within the rich soils of your garden.

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community in Rutledge, northeast Missouri, practicing sustainable living among 50+ members. There’s lots to see, so start thinking about a spring tour now! We’ll start offering them again in mid-April. Meanwhile, for more information, please see our website (in the midst of a major rebuild) at www.dancingrabbit.org, visit our blog The March Hare atwww.blog.dancingrabbit.org, or give us a call at (660) 883-5511 .