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The summer heat may soon be over, we hope! Hurricane winds are forecast to cool us down a little, which is good for us but sad for the Gulf Coast. Parmejean here, to tell you news of our sweet home, Dancing Rabbit ecovillage.
I handle summer heat by rising early, usually at five in the morning, walking under the stars, then getting lots done before the heat sets in. The stars are brilliant here because there is very little light pollution. I can see the Milky Way, and now I see Orion rising in the east just before daybreak. Orion’s star, Betelgeuse, is part of a winter triangle of stars and an indicator of cooler days to come.
As summer ends some of the village children catch the bus to school in Memphis, and I hope they will be safe as they venture out for their education. We also have some homeschooled children, and I will be teaching biology to a small group of them once a week. I have some insights on teaching homeschoolers from homeschooling my three sons, and I enjoy the youthful energy that can be generated in a learning environment.
Scotland County, in northeast Missouri where we live, has had 22 cases of Covid-19 and one death reported so far. We are very cautious at our ecovillage and generally wear masks inside community buildings. Door knobs and light switches are sprayed with disinfectant fairly often, and most social gatherings are outside with people well spaced. Rare visitors and members who make outside contacts quarantine for two weeks, though it seems we are all quarantining all the time.
A daily event here is Happy Hour under a large oak next to the Milkweed Mercantile. We sit in chairs spaced at six feet, gauged by a six-foot pole Kurt provides. The barkeeper does have a little walk to get drinks, but no one is in a big hurry so this arrangement is quite nice. On Saturdays we have Makers’ Morning in the same location and enjoy conversation as we work our separate crafts. A lot of knitting goes on, and I do some rough embroidery with a kit left to me by my sister, Meg. A little heart on a hankie makes a nice gift, just don’t look on the back side, it’s messy!
This week Alyson led a consensus workshop. She is lively and positive, and we are lucky to have her here. She is also a strong advocate for intentional communities and how they can operate successfully. Our large class gathered in the shade under the same oak tree for some socially distanced learning.
At Dancing Rabbit we make group decisions, and this process can be quite time consuming. There are many strategies for making group decisions, and every community develops what works best for them. As we have 40+ members, this can be quite an endeavor. We have committees that do some of the groundwork and gather input from community members, as well as a village council, so we do not have to meet en masse as often. It is quite an effort, but living in a tight-knit loving community is the fabulous reward for such efforts!
Our consensus workshop included a discussion on how to conduct community meetings in the winter when the oak tree won’t protect us from the north wind. K* and Cat facilitated this discussion, and ideas ranged from meeting outside on relatively warm sunny days, to using extra precautions and meeting in the Common House, to having a contained fire to sit around outside. Many of our meetings are now done with Zoom, which is obviously quite safe, but we lose a lot of personal interaction: laughter, body language, smiles and frowns, which are not portrayed well online. The ideas generated in the workshop will be looked at further in what we call “process parties”, and K* volunteered to organize and facilitate them.
We had a big send-off for Aurelia, who was born here and is now a teenager, on her way with her parents to start school in Wisconsin. As they were driving their fully loaded car past our consensus workshop, they stopped and got out and there were such heart-felt well wishes that there was not a dry eye in the park.
Later in the day we had our usual happy hour in the park, and later that evening I walked under the brilliant light of the waxing moon with a dear friend.
I hope you all find peace and contentment on your life journey. And though these times are challenging we should enjoy the moments we have together.
Sending joy and love to all!
Parmajean Demaree is a member of Dancing Rabbit ecovillage.