February 14, 2012

Hi all. This is Alline writing for Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Writing this column can be a bit embarrassing at times. After my last column, where I declared the new Community Building to be fully approved (it was not) I reluctantly donned the title Minister of Disinformation. I promise that I will try to do better in the future, and be at least marginally more accurate. However, since one of the more entertaining aspects of small-town life is rumors – well, accuracy flies out the window when entertainment is at stake.

Things feel very much in flux this time of year. Is it winter or is it spring? Will I stay at Dancing Rabbit, or will I go somewhere else? Will I continue to eat with this food coop or do something different? Ch-ch-ch-changes are everywhere.

The good news is that as new people move to DR they bring not only enthusiasm but their talents and skills. Included in gifts being shared: Mandy is leading daily meditation and yoga sessions, Sandy leads Kirtan chanting, and Brent blows us all away in Trival Pursuit time after time.

Each of these Memphis Democrat columns, written by a revolving cast of DR members, tends to be a glimpse into the life of each writer. While Dancing Rabbit is a village we have become too large for everyone to participate in everything, and for each of us to be close friends with everyone who is here. As my life seems to revolve around the Milkweed Mercantile, that has become my focus, and the center of my perspective. Which is just to say that I’ve noticed lately that the role of the Milkweed Mercantile continues to evolve. We serve pizza (open to the public) every Thursday evening, rain or shine, snow or tsunami. We’ve begun presenting movie nights – so far a few classics and sing-along musicals – and host a growing number of patrons each evening. With the fire roaring in the fireplace, it’s a nice place to spend some time. Even in the dead of winter we continue to host guests, and we’re delighted that people are interested in what we are doing here, at the Mercantile, at Dancing Rabbit, in life.

We wait impatiently for Nani & Dave’s baby (already named Abigail) to arrive. We also hope that her gender really is, as the ultrasound showed, female– if life was difficult for a boy named Sue we can only imagine what a boy named Abigail would have to go through.

We’re gearing up for our annual retreat, a time where we come together and decide what we will prioritize in the coming year. Some years the topics are exciting, some years they are, um, not so much. But we have a lot to accomplish, and so to keep ourselves inspired we insert multiple activities and snack breaks into each day of meetings. One of my favorite activities which tends to coincide with Retreat is the tradition of Validation cards. Much more inclusive than Valentine’s Day, Validation Day presents us with the opportunity to appreciate and say ”thanks” to our friends here at DR. Cards are made for every individual who lives here, and we all make the time to write in every single card. On Thursday evening, as we kick off the retreat, we’ll each receive a card with up to 50 ‘love notes’ inside. It’s a happy way to begin our decision-making marathon!

Also keeping us on our toes is an ongoing facilitation training class in which many members of Dancing Rabbit are participating. Without skilled facilitators to hold the threads of content, keep the topic moving and to wrangle the variety of personalities, our meetings would simply crash and burn. As someone who is better at taking notes than facilitating, I am extremely grateful for and appreciative of the time and patience it takes to learn and finesse this skill – thanks to all the Rabbit facilitators!

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community in Rutledge, northeast Missouri, practicing sustainable living among 50+ members. There’s lots to see, so start thinking about a spring tour now! We’ll start offering them again in mid-April. Meanwhile, for more information, please see our website (in the midst of a major rebuild) at www.dancingrabbit.org, visit our blog The March Hare at blog.dancingrabbit.org, or give us a call at (660) 883-5511.

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