It is hot outside. The pond feels like a bathtub, the sun is hazy, the tomatoes are wilting, and I have spotted Thomas on more than one occasion lying on the Common House floor to cool off.
Did I mention that I am from New England? Did I mention that I am terrified of the heat? Did you know that it will be in the 90s for days straight this week?
Christina here, writing news of what’s been going on recently at Dancing Rabbit, while sitting in a dark room in front of a fan and drinking green tea over ice.
We are wrapping up our second visitor’s program of the season, and the first women-only visitor program. I haven’t been as closely involved with this group, but I have to say that observing them bond has been pretty great.
There has been a lot of singing, swimming, and talking—not to mention games, lingering meals, berry picking, and some more singing after that.
During the first week of their session was one of the great song circles of the year. I thought that the tornado warning song circle earlier this year would be impossible to beat, but it turns out that when upwards of twenty people come together to sing and learn new songs, it is also pretty amazing.
I love taking my kids Max and Emma to song circle because they participate so fully, without any reservation. The kids and I are especially fond of rounds and have been practicing a Medieval one that we learned from one of the visitors whenever we get a chance.
There is something meditative about singing—my brain is too full of the melody or the words to dart through my to-do list. And there is something sort of magical about singing in a group. We are all there, doing the same thing—but then again we aren’t really doing anything except creating something that will be gone as soon as it is done.
Did I mention that it has been hot? Workshopping and work partying are hard work, so the visitors have also been spotted a great deal at the pond. One day when I was there cooling off with Emma, Max, and the dog, we saw the visitors round a corner on the path, coming back from the land walk with Dan. They were singing together.
I have never had the experience of witnessing a whole group of women singing together spontaneously; it was quite beautiful and something I won’t soon forget.
I have taken a few opportunities to chat with some of the visitors, after dinner on Friday night or walking back from potluck at Sandhill or picking raspberries outside the Common House. It’s always fun for me to be reminded of why I moved here. I see myself in them so much. Knowing that the way they are living their lives just somehow isn’t working, looking for something different, and wondering if this is the place that will answer their questions.
Not everyone finds their answers here, though, and it is also fun to meet people who take what they learn—about growing organic food or dealing with conflict or turning human waste into compost—out into the world on their next adventures. I doubt they could really ever leave behind what they have learned here.
You can’t visit Dancing Rabbit and leave the exact same person you were when you arrived.
In personal news, our family joined a co-op kitchen. This means that we share meals as well as cleaning responsibilities with four other adults. For me, it means cooking only once or twice a week, a great big kitchen to play in, and having new friends to get to know over dinner every night. Community has its benefits.
It also means a lot of masking tape labels on personal food and not always deciding what I eat for meals. Community also has its compromises.
For the kids, this meant making cookies, since we haven’t had unlimited access to a proper oven in over four months. They chose the recipe, and it was stuffed full of chocolate chips. I’m sure the other members of our co-op were not upset about this afternoon project either.
It might not have been the best time to use the oven indoors. (Did I mention it is hot here?) But seeing them work so sweetly together was worth a little sweat.
And a note about their outfits in the picture before I sign off: Max, my son, is wearing a black velvet sparkly number that he found at the kids’ clothing swap last month. Emma is wearing her dad’s T-shirt, which she cut up, and her face is painted to look like a skull. No matter what kind of inconveniences we might have to deal with living in this rural intentional community— watering tomatoes by hand with a five-gallon bucket of water in 95 degree heat, dancing around other people in the kitchen when I just want to get a spoon out of the drawer, dealing with conflict and feedback head-on when it arises— I am so grateful to raise my kids in a place where they are accepted no matter what their appearance.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and educational nonprofit outside Rutledge, MO, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. We offer public tours of the village on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, April-October; the next is June 25th at 1 pm. Reservations not required. Tours are free, though donations to help us continue our educational and outreach efforts are gratefully accepted. For directions, call the office at 660-883-5511 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about us, you can also check out our website: