New Folks and Movie Stars: A Dancing Rabbit Update

This week held many highlights, for me anyway, so it was hard to decide what to leave out! Even the weather was exciting, with a cold snap, a few gloomy dark days, other days of unseasonable warmth and bright sun, not to mention some intense storms and a tornado watch (no actual tornado, thank goodness). And even though the time of year suggests that things should be slowing down, there’s no sign of that in my reality, at least not yet.

Here’s the news of the week, according to Tereza.

Quite a few of the week’s highlights for me relate to a new visitor group being here. They’re the last of the season, and given the rain, cold weather, and the inevitable late-season low-energy-for-new-folk many of us are having, they seem to be doing remarkably well.

My overall impression of the group is that they’re friendly, kind, and very eager to learn. I might have an extra-special soft spot in my heart for this group of folks because I already knew Robbie and Jack, who both took part in the Milkweed Mercantile’s writing workshop earlier this year. In that most excellent of workshops we participants bonded really quickly, and came to trust each other a lot in a very short time, so it’s extra great for me to have these two back again for a longer stay.

And I virtually met Jo, another visitor in this group, a few weeks ago, when a college theater professor connected us via social media. Jo and I were both greatly impacted by this professor during our college years, and the fact that our time with him was 25 or so years apart doesn’t seem to have diminished the bond that gives us. We haven’t yet had a lot of time to connect, but we’ve had some wonderful laughter and reminiscing, and I’m looking forward to more.

Movie stars making their grand entrance at the world premiere. Photo by Stephen.

Perhaps the highest highlight of the week was the World Premiere Screening of “Beyond Home,” a movie made by a group of tri-community kids. For weeks they’ve been meeting with Erica (our resident film industry expert), learning about many different aspects of filmmaking. The kids came up with ideas, wrote the script, and assigned on- and off-camera roles, including location scout, clapboard clapper, goat-wrangler, and more.

Finally on Wednesday night it all came together with the first public showing of the results. It was decided to make it a gala event, so folks were invited to dress up if they wanted. Some went all out on their amazing outfits. As the kids walked up the ramp (aka red carpet) into the Casa, the paparazzi were out in force, flashbulbs (aka flashlights) popping, and the crowd going wild: so much clapping and hooting and stomping for these new movie stars! The movie itself, about five minutes long, was really entertaining, as was experiencing the kids’ reactions to our reactions. Then there was time for the audience to ask questions of the kids (and Erica).

After the Q&A we watched a bloopers reel, where we got to see some fun outtakes/mistakes found while editing. (I think my favorite was a scene happening on Main Street, and someone—I still have no idea who it was—walked across the street right behind the action.) The kids especially seemed to get a big kick out of this part of the evening.

It was interesting to me the next day to hear Aurelia say she had no idea so many people would be there. For some reason she thought only the parents would come. I was surprised she was surprised: it’s all they’d been talking about for quite a while, and most of us, parents or not, were excited to see what the kids had made.

That’s one of the things I love about living here: how encouraging we are of each other’s interests and passions, even if we don’t have a blood relationship, even if we aren’t personally very interested in the actual topic or event in question. If you’re super into it, or it feels important to you, we’ll come out for your event, we might even dress up in sparkly attire, and we’ll clap our hands ‘til they sting to encourage you in reaching for your dreams. (I wish everyone reading this the chance to feel the joy of such support!)

Let’s see, what else? Of course we had all the usual events that happen during the first week of a visitor session, like Meet and Greet, and Q&A with Rabbits, and the visitors dining with with various food co-ops and in various kitchens. On Friday the 13th Taylor had a spooky birthday dance party, which sounds like folks had fun at. I was prepping for the Q&A and was a bit under the weather, so I didn’t make it.

Saturday night, right after some pretty ferocious storms, we had a clothing swap. The weather might have led to perhaps lower attendance than otherwise, but those present had a great time. It was chaotic and fun, with three of us simultaneously holding items up, announcing size or other salient features, and then flinging them across the room to whomever said they wanted it. Not only is it fun to see people trying on different things and exploring outfits, it’s nice to know that just because I don’t want something anymore doesn’t mean it might not give someone else great joy for a while.

After the swap I went to the common house to see the visitors “non-fire”. While I was there for just a short time it was a lovely mellow scene, with lots of candlelight, drumming, ukulele, and various other percussion instruments.

In most of my updates I don’t mention what’s going on in the outside world, and I hesitate to do so now, but I want to acknowledge that even when we don’t write about it, for many of us the news often has a very big impact. (My first draft had a very long rant about a multitude of issues in this space, but I deleted it. You’re welcome.)

As just one example, on Sunday night Men’s Group hosted an open meeting, where all tri-community folk are welcome to attend. I always appreciate the opportunity to be in that space, where deep personal work and support can happen. This week I especially appreciated it, as I was able to work with what’s been up for me lately, triggered by the topic of sexual harassment that has been in the news of late. As someone who has experienced this personally, it was difficult, but powerful and healing for me to do that work with the support of some of the men in my community. I have big “hearts” for all who attended.

Reflecting on my experience the next morning, I suddenly thought of how often I’ve heard non-community folks hint (or even say outright) that they think we come to Dancing Rabbit to get away from the world. But that feels to me to be missing the point. I didn’t come here to escape from the world, I came to help create an alternative to ways of living that aren’t working in the rest of the world. Despite the challenges, I keep choosing to live here out of hope, hope that we can show the world that other ways are possible.

Peace out.


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.

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