03.05.2019 Prairie

The Rhythms of Life: A Dancing Rabbit Update

Sunday morning stillness; a fresh common space (thanks to our Sunday morning clean team that swept, scrubbed, sorted, shined and all sorts of s-words to make our common house a lovely place); our WIP (Week In Preview): these are the forms in which the week seems to say hello, here at Dancing Rabbit. The steady repetition of familiar activities is one of the critical components that propels this village forward into new beginnings and endings. As the winter season leans toward its end (I wistfully say as we receive yet another few inches of snow), new things begin to emerge into and fall out of the streams of our routines.

Summer reflections on one of our ponds, which everyone here is longing for after months of ice and snow.

Prairie here, with the latest update on life at Dancing Rabbit. The last Sunday of February was the start of weekly samba drumming sessions, led by one of our newest residents: Jason. I had never heard of samba before, but I found within minutes that the rhythms drew me in and moved through my whole body. Jason drummed a call rhythm, and we (the attendees, with musical experience levels ranging from none to vast) played a response rhythm. Then we all played together. The tempo rose and rose … until it all came crashing down in a humorously chaotic finale. Then we started again!

Like my first samba drumming experience, my week was one of rhythmic motion growing in speed until it eventually fell apart, only to rev up again. It all started with getting roped into a “tough mudder”, a 5 kilometer race through an obstacle course, coming in May. Our muddy dream team consists of: Ted, Aurelia, Andrea, Hassan, Alannah, Apple, Ezra, Arlo and I. Since the confirmation of our team Andrea has reserved space three times a week for physical exercise in the afternoons, and because I decided that less than half a week wasn’t enough for me, I hosted an hour and a half of movement practices every morning as well. Now, a week after making that decision, I can say that I am surprised my body hasn’t collapsed from all the physical exertion (though there have been some close calls) — and this is only the first week! In the next two and a half months leading up to the epic day of mud, our team will probably expand our training.

The conveyance of my intentions for the event, and the moments leading up to it, may seem competitive in nature. Truthfully, I could feel my body steeling itself for a rigorous future of cold feelings and sheer determination. It has taken me some time to get to the more profound and humbling truth of the matter: fun. It’s not about winning or losing for my friends. I will be riding one of my growth edges trying to keep this concept in mind; I would give anything to feel more connected to supportive friendship and fun, which I deem to be two of the essential pieces of a harmonious life.

One of the most memorable of the team meet-ups was when we went for a run to Red Earth Farms, an intentional community right next door to us, to help move water for livestock. We ran through nature-made obstacles in the woods on the way back. It was exhilarating! Our feet flew with strength across the frozen ground in time to the rhythms of our pumping hearts. We looked the limits of our physical strength in the eye as we took in the expanding possibilities. Yay for team building!

On another note, here’s a little flashback to February: instead of Valentines Day, at Dancing Rabbit we have an annual Validation Day. The holiday (native to an intentional community in Virginia called Twin Oaks) started with the making of individualized cards for everyone in the village, which Alline collaged this year. (Alline also often makes the desserts offered on Thursday pizza nights at the Milkweed Mercantile. Last week she made a decadent chocolate caramel walnut pie, and a coconut custard pie that was gone within the first half hour after opening. Pizza is served from 4:00 – 8:00 P.M. every Thursday. If you live within a reasonable distance of northeast Missouri, we invite you to swing by and have a beer and a chat with us.) Anyway, after the Validation Day cards are made, folks then have the opportunity to write in anyone’s cards: appreciations, acknowledgments, fond memories, or what have you. Finally, a bunch of folks gathered to receive their cards in a sort of ceremony where everyone gets to play a kind of guessing game. My sister and I facilitated this year’s gathering. We took turns carefully choosing a card made for one of the people present, ensuring no one could see the name on it, and read some of the validations that people had written. Based on that information, everyone tries to guess who the card belongs to. Whenever a correct guess is made, the person in question receives their card. It was a blast, and yet another experience of stepping into leadership for my sister and I — we get a surprising amount of those here at Dancing Rabbit.

And here’s to the two baby goats born this week! The male and female twins, named Goaty-Goat and Happy, are the first of the season. There are going to be at least eight more babies very soon.
The veins of the village are flowing faster. Its heart is beating more and more quickly. The gradual mending and moving of many things, the earlier dawning of the sun, the small streams running cautiously, tides of music rising and falling, and my own body challenged with the task of cleansing itself as muscles break down and form again; I know the rhythms of life will glide in a new direction on its own time.

Want to see the rhythms of life here at Dancing Rabbit first hand? Come to a Sustainable Living Visitor Program and see for yourself what living here is like.

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