Night Sky Wonder (and other news): A Dancing Rabbit Update

Skyhouse against a particularly picturesque sunset. Photo by Nik.
Skyhouse against a particularly picturesque sunset. Photo by Nik.

Hello, Readers!

Allow me to introduce myself…

My name is Lucas. I participated in the September visitor program, and got a strong sense that something profound is happening on the ground here. I have since become a resident, leaving a cushy cubicle behind in Tennessee.

It is my great honor to have the opportunity to “speak” with all of you on a regular basis.

I hope you enjoy my perspective. I sure do!

Though the final visitor session and tour of the season is over, DR remains a hub of connection, hosting a gathering for the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), as well as the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of DR Inc., the non-profit arm of Dancing Rabbit.

I was pleasantly surprised to find these guests remarkably down-to-earth, full of great ideas, and just plain good folks. The community’s been thrilled to host so many seasoned leaders and minds, and have taken full advantage of the opportunity to get to know them better.

I find it comforting to know that we’re all more or less pointed in the same direction. It was wonderful to see the Board and village members so in-tune with one another; I’d argue that this week has served as a testament to DR’s solidarity in the quest for sustainable progress.

The predicted cold snap is pushing the village into the final stages of winter preparations a bit sooner than expected. I’ve heard the Brussels sprouts and lettuce will be harvested earlier than normal this year, and the egg supply is steadily tapering off, along with the sun’s warmth.

I’ve found myself wondering what a foot of snow will be like; I’ve been in cold climates, but never much snow; maybe 6 inches at best. It seems this year I may get the chance to hop on a sled and do something ill-advised. Perhaps y’all will see a fun photo of me this winter, terrified and tumbling! I will do my best.

Construction on the town center road is progressing nicely. Its completion opens up new areas for development by prospective home owners and entrepreneurs. It’s exciting to watch, and I wonder what the area may look like one day. I imagine it bustling with local, sustainable, fair-trade activity; perhaps hosting large community dinners and events…so many possibilities!

Halloween certainly didn’t pass unnoticed here at DR. The holiday was celebrated with the yearly “progressive fiasco”, a house-to-house tour where the community dresses up in their scariest/favorite costumes, and Rabbits open their homes, sharing food, drink, stories, and music until the early morning hours. I’ve never been to a costume party full of “grown-ups” before; I had a blast, and I’m pretty sure everyone else did too!

Another wonderful aspect of living away from the city is the night sky. The stars are amazing here. I often find myself gazing upward on clear nights in awe and reverence of the sheer number of stars, and scale of our universe.

As a budding astronomer with the goal of bridging into astrophotography, I have been learning about the celestial navigation techniques that humans have used to explore the Earth. No matter what our individual heritage or ethnicity, the stars have been guiding our ancestors, inspiring stories, and keeping our time. It is a shame that so many now live under constant illumination, missing out on an ancient light parade so profoundly subtle, magnificently silent, and historically significant.

In the city, there just doesn’t seem to be much to see. It’s no wonder that millions now rarely look up, choosing instead to constantly stay indoors, separated from the environment and sights that drove countless generations forward. I wonder at the consequences of losing our connection with the stars.

It took about 40 years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight for us to get to the moon. It’s now been another 40 years, and we have surprisingly little to show for it. Perhaps people are losing their wonder. Perhaps we feel too large, too important now, with no great expanse to humble us each evening.

As someone who has mainly lived in cities, I’ve also very much enjoyed watching the trees and landscape change.

Never before have I seen fall manifested so suddenly, so dramatically. Being surrounded by the natural environment is an equally humbling experience. It is an untamed power, one that can sweep the land barren, or bring plentiful bounty. It is a consistent reminder that our ability to adapt to changing environments could very well face its greatest test in the next few generations.

Projects such as Dancing Rabbit serve to restore my hope that we can ultimately respond to climate change as responsible people. I am proud of my choice to live in and serve with this community; I see the choice as one of responsibility and patriotism, and I believe that over time more and more citizens will as well.

• • •

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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