09.08.2019 Prairie

The Village Sings: A Dancing Rabbit Update

Hi friends, it’s been a long week! Like Christina mentioned in a previous article, Sundays at Dancing Rabbit are frequently filled with a plethora of community tasks like cleaning our common spaces, Village Council meetings, and (if you’re me this week) writing this article, but last Sunday took a special turn for this village, as well as my own sense of strength and purpose. Prairie here, with a little taste of my Singing Rabbit adventure.

Dodie, one of the Singing Rabbit song leaders, in her element.

First of all, I’ve never been in charge of managing infrastructure for an event that proved to welcome approximately one-hundred people. Two years ago, that thought, if it had crossed my mind at all (which it hadn’t), would have sent me running. As it was, I eagerly leapt in with enthusiasm in the early stages of planning this event. 

Let’s just say that I hadn’t realized the extent of time, thought, energy and community wrangling I would need to employ to spread Singing Rabbit’s wings for flight. After juggling extension cords, water barrels, mismatched dishes, colorful orientation signs, dozens of hay bales and ten other things I had forgotten and been reminded of later, including chainsaws (just kidding), the tents were assembled, seating arrayed, water set up, announcements prepared and everything else. Big thanks to the set-up team for sticking with me while I figured out this massive thing I’ve never done before.

The opening circle pulled me in like a breath, and the first song of the weekend melted the worry and tension in me. I saw people from my home, some of those I met abroad, and some new folks as well. This is it, I thought. This is why we are here: to sing, connect, laugh, cry, breathe, and stretch ourselves. I saw all of these things in myself and others, throughout the three days, not to mention the smiles, ideas, curiosity, intention, joy, creativity, delicious food, and yes, songs.

New to this year’s event was what we called The Liberation Tent which was inspired by the individuals collaborating last June at Village Fire to create a safe, open space for anyone to inquire, offer, speak to, listen and support anyone on matters such as white supremacy, sexism and racism. Thank you to those who worked to make that tent available.

One of my favorite activities was after-dinner singing around the fire under our clear, starlit skies. (I’ll take that over rushing cars and luminescent street lights any day.) At that time, everyone is welcome to teach a song to the group. There is something distinctly magical about dozens of voices rising and falling in synchronicity and harmony in a little pocket of community at Dancing Rabbit; they are moments that leave me in the wide open space of the present moment. People of myriad walks of life, all ages, many skin colors, speaking more than one language, gathered around those fire circles together. I think acknowledging human differences can make us more powerful and compassionate while holding that we all have a heart that beats to the rhythms of this Earth.

We also had song circles led by Annie, who taught Georgian and Bulgarian polyphonic songs; Lindsey, who shared some originals close to her heart; Ian, who offered vocal exploration and songs for recovery; Murmurations, a group from New Orleans who taught some songs from their area; Dodie, with big heart-openers; and Ishka leading with her originals. I wish I could give you a sweeter taste of all that delicious singing.

Amidst the daytime circles led by song leaders near and far, a No-Talent Show came into fruition with around fourteen presentations from the tri-communities and Singing Rabbit attendees. As opposed to a Talent Show, this wild evening welcomed everyone, whether they consider themselves talented or not, to strut their stuff in front of a cheering audience. I’m not giving away any of the gold and gems from this year’s show. You’ll have to see for yourself, next time. 

By the end of the weekend I was simultaneously exhausted and full of energy. Thankfully, putting everything away was a lot easier than setting it up, especially with many hands helping to lighten the load.

So. I survived. Not only that, I thrived, which was fortunate, because our annual Open House took place the following Saturday. Thanks to all those who stopped by for a peek into our village life, helping us carry out our mission a little further. Thank you as well to everyone who attended Singing Rabbit! Among the many beautiful insights and experiences, I learned that it truly takes a village to create a delightful, wild, easeful, and meaningful existence together.

If you missed out on Singing Rabbit, but you still want to come see our village and get a sense of the magic Prairie described, you still have a chance to visit us for a long weekend toward the end of this month. We hope to see you there.

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