Hazel looks adorable while helping out during Land Clean. Photo by Melany. Bindweed crown by Katherine.

Since I’ve moved here to Dancing Rabbit, I have definitely had more time to stop and smell the roses. Except, since we don’t really grow roses around here, the smells that I have enjoyed here are more of the woodsmoke, prairie grass, sawdust, manure-pile-for-my-garden variety.

I think one of the fears people often have about moving to an intentional community is the giving up of “nice things.” But I’ve seen a lot of beauty in the past days, as I have since we moved here.

Christina here, writing about all of the ways that I have stopped to smell the cow manure this week.

Last Saturday was Land Clean day. This is a biannual day that is literally all about making things around here look nice. I volunteered to help out in the courtyard in front of the Common House, but there were people working all over the village weeding, cutting back the ragweed around the paths, even planting some new flowers. It’s great to have a better view of the sunflowers, but of course the really beautiful sight is that of so many people volunteering their time to make a place they share better.

On Tuesday, a bunch of the kids were playing Red Light Green Light, a very complicated game they’ve evolved from the classic version, when all of a sudden, we noticed that the yard in front of Allium was covered with butterflies. I must have counted at least twenty. They weren’t monarchs, but they were orange and black and quite lovely. I took a few minutes to watch them flutter around the flowers.

On Wednesday, I participated in one of my favorite weekly chores—moving the goats to new pasture. It’s so simple and immediate, and there’s always a nice view. Problem: the goats and Donkey need new land to graze. Solution: move them to the next pasture. So many problems in my life and the world around me have such complicated solutions that it’s nice to have something simple every once in a while. And I love to look over the hills and watch the prairie grasses blowing in the wind.

Friday night was the Q and A session with the current visitor group. Yes, I had a sink full of dirty dishes and plenty of other items on my to-do list that would be transferred to the next day, but it was nice to pause to take some time to sit around and answer questions. In my past life as a more mainstream American, I rarely got the opportunity to question what I was doing or why I was doing it.  But when visitors ask things like “What do you wish you had known before you moved here” or “What’s the hardest part of living in an intentional community” or “Tell me about your best day at DR” I get the chance to reflect on the decision I made to move half-way across the country.

This Saturday was our annual Open House, when around 150 people came from all over to find out more about our village. In the midst of a lot of rushing around to make sure that the signs and water and bathrooms were all set up, I got to look around a little. My role was one of the tour stop presenters, and I talked in Ironweed kitchen about the food and eating scene here at DR. I never get tired of talking about food, so it was a good job for me for sure, but I also loved the time in between tours, when I got to look around a little and enjoy the peaches falling from the tree in the courtyard or details of the mosaics in the earthen plaster of the kitchen.

In my past life in the mainstream, I might have one moment like this a week. The rest of my time was spent getting ready for work, working, and then getting ready for work the next day. Sometimes I do feel like I’m just as busy here as I was before, but it’s different.  It’s the kind of busy that still allows me to reflect, to notice the details of the trees or the clouds, to talk to people about things that aren’t immediately necessary to the work environment, to take a good sniff of the sawdust before I shovel it into my bucket.

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 Saturday, September 23rd 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 dancingrabbit@ic.org. To find out more about us, you can also check out our website: www.dancingrabbit.org.