Things are winding down around here. We’re lighting fires indoors, pulling out puzzles and needlepoint projects, and saying goodbye to the last visitors of the season. But also, this has been a busy week, as it usually is in the village.
Christina here, writing from frosty NeMo, where things are changing but they’re also sort of the same as always.
There have been some lasts this week. The goat co-op decided to end the evening goat milking, as the does have not been giving out much milk. The village finished out the last visitor session of the season, Saturday was the last public tour of the year, and THRIVE, the nonprofit’s last program for 2017, ended on Sunday.
And yet, it’s also the beginnings of a lot. Most people I talk to are looking forward to some hibernating time—holing up by the fire or quiet game nights or reading the books that have been sitting by their bed for the past few months. It’s the beginning of the mostly-indoors season for many.
The big news of the week has definitely been who’s the most recent person to get sick. A number of different illnesses have been making the rounds of the village, and there hasn’t really been a household spared. At least the nasty stomach bug seemed to be short-lasting, and leaves its victims none the worse for wear.
The other big news of the week has been the impending frost. Most everyone around here has something growing in the ground to eat, and so we’ve been harvesting whatever is still out there. I picked around 40 pounds of green tomatoes this week, which I turned into a spicy green tomato salsa. It’s been a little of a rush to get the last of the potatoes and peppers indoors as well.
And so I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it means to be busy. I know that there’s a national epidemic of busyness. Rather than think about what’s really going on, within or without, people just keep busy busy. A standard response to the question of “How are you” is often “busy!” I too have been guilty of humble-bragging my way through many conversations about how busy my week has been.
I got an interesting question during the most recent visitor session. One of the visitors asked if the reason why we moved here was to live the “slow life.” I hope she wasn’t offended when I laughed at the question, but life around here isn’t exactly slow.
On Tuesday, I fit two different committee meetings into the homeschool schedule after getting up in the dark to work, and then I rushed to make it to Ultimate on time. It feels like I can never keep up with the mess created by having the four members of my family home for a large chunk of the day rather than being away at work or school. And today I plan to finish this column, homeschool my two kids, move the goats to new pasture, and attend a meeting—all before lunch.
So I am busy, and sometimes (often) I feel overwhelmed by all that I want to do.
But there are ways that life here forces me to slow down at least a little. Before moving those goats today, I’ll walk out to the prairie where they’re on pasture. That will take about 10 minutes, in which I am mostly alone with my thoughts and noticing the weather. Yesterday I had the privilege of spending about 30 minutes practicing my frisbee throws. And when I was processing those 40 pounds of tomatoes, I had plenty of time to think and be quiet. Last week, we took a quick family trip to St. Louis—something that would have been impossible in our former lives.
Moving here isn’t a guarantee that we won’t bring all of the bad habits of the mainstream with us—I still occasionally binge-watch TV and I almost always drink too much coffee—but it is easier to notice those bad habits and to move towards a more healthy way of living.
It’s not exactly life in the slow lane, but it is more satisfying in a lot of ways.
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.