Points of Light in the Dark of the Year: A Dancing Rabbit Update

The first snow fall of the year. Photo by SunGee.
The first snow fall of the year. Photo by SunGee.

Well hello again out there!  Sam’s back for another turn at This Week at DR.  So many of our writers are “off farm” (as we say) the rotation is coming around pretty quickly these days.  I hope that soon we’ll have some new folks getting oriented to writing for this column, both to give y’all more variety in perspective, and because it’s really a fun and rewarding way to contribute to the community.  I find that taking some time to reflect on what’s been going on for the past week helps me feel more connected with my neighbors and with what we’re all trying to do here.

Some folks have made their way home this week.  Sara and Aurelia came home from their travels, as did Amanda, Dee, Stephen, and probably some others I’m forgetting to mention.  With Amanda off farm for so long she’s been doing her community duty of participating in committees via Skype.  In fact, on the four-person Oversight Team, we were holding meetings with two on-farm participants and two on Skype.  It’s becoming easier and easier to use tools like that for keeping in touch even when people aren’t physically present.  Google Docs, online calendars, and Evernote have had an impact on the way we communicate and organize our committee work, too.  Sometimes it’s hard to imagine functioning efficiently without them.

When Stephen got home he had a “Home” themed party.  I didn’t attend, but I hear it was a lovely time.  Another party I didn’t attend was for Ben’s birthday.  He had announced that he’d be spending his birthday sitting in a rocking chair outside his house, just chillin’.  However, some neighbor asked for his help so he decided to have a party in the evening instead.  It turns out that it was a very cold day, and I think maybe having a bunch of people indoors, warming things up instead of sitting still out in the cold all day might have turned out to be the better choice, anyway.  There was an arm wrestling contest at that party, though there’s some confusion over who the champion turned out to be.  Maybe we’ll have a rematch someday.

With the cold coming on in full force, and the little bit of snowfall, it really feels like winter.  The ponds are almost frozen enough for ice sports.  Folks are drawn together around the warmest spots in the village to play games, chat, or share food.  We’ve now passed the earliest sunsets of the year, which is a relief, I’m sure, especially to the kids who don’t get home from school until 4pm.  The latest sunrises are still to come, though, so that cold dark wait for the bus in the morning is a long way from over for the season.  Personally, I’m looking forward to the Solstice when the overall amount of daylight per day starts increasing again; Hooray for free vitamin D!

A group of folks came by from Mark Twain Behavioral Health last week. They had lunch at the Mercantile and a tour of DR. They’re a not for profit agency that works with children, families, and adults to promote optimum behavioral health, with a strong focus on wellness. The Rabbit and Red Earth representatives who met with them discussed how we might be able to support them in the services that they provide and what resources they have that we could use. They talked about coming back to do a workshop and possibly hold a board meeting at Dancing Rabbit. We look forward to further collaboration with them.

In Thistledown we put some effort into working out how we want to celebrate Christmas this year.  There are two families in the house, each with out own history of traditions around winter holiday celebration, and with four kids all together, plus some folks who share the kitchen.  We came up with a few things we think will help us celebrate the spirit of giving, honoring our families’ traditions without overwhelming ourselves.  One idea we’ve implemented already is a “Giving Tree” in the living room.  It’s a branch that the two youngest kids cut from an evergreen tree out on the land, hung on the brickwork by the boiler (the closest thing we have to a fireplace) with a basket of blank, glitter-enhanced boxboard ornaments nearby.  Whenever someone witnesses a selfless act of giving, they can write the act (without names) on an ornament and hang it on the “tree.”  We just put it up a few hours ago and there are already a few ornaments on the tree; I’m excited to see it all festooned with loving compassion and glitter.

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community in northeast Missouri, practicing ecologically sustainable living. We offer a free tour to the public on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from April-October. Tours are over for this year, but you can still visit us on Thursday nights for pizza at the Milkweed Mercantile, from 4–9. For more information you can visit our website www.dancingrabbit.org, read our blog The March Hare at www.marchhareblog.com , or give us a call at (660) 883-5511.

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