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Hello friends of Dancing Rabbit! Liz here, to give you the latest from the village.
This is the last Dancing Rabbit update for 2020. And so we bid adieu to a year that was extraordinary in many ways, and definitely not what any of us were expecting.
I can’t think of a better place to wait out the pandemic than in this quiet backwater I call home. Not that it hasn’t been hard. But, as I tell myself pretty much every day, it will do.
As many of you know, I am a transplant to the Midwest from California. I’ve taken to the Midwest, weather and all, like a duck to water. Nothing says winter to me now like a fire in my wood stove and hanging out in my warm cozy cottage. Nothing has changed there.
I find that my go-to coping mechanism for these times is to accept that things are “good enough.” Not quite the same as a gratitude practice, which I feel I am not quite up for right now. But accepting that what I’m actually able to do is good enough for now comforts me.
My dog is my foundation of health. She is a terrier, and true to her breed, she is bossy and stubborn. She weighs 11 pounds with her collar on. She is also adorable, which makes it impossible to stay impatient with her for very long. After I adopted her from a local dog shelter, she quickly adapted to our daily routine. So much so that now she insists on it. So regardless of whether I’m feeling tired, discouraged, or its too cold outside, we go walking four times each day, usually around the same time, which Roxie keeps track of zealously. She keeps me going outside for fresh air and movement, every single day.
Every once in a while, I encounter someone from the village also out for a walk on the prairie acreage that is part of the DR property. A few days ago I met up with Kyle, who was taking a walk with his wife. As I got closer to them, I saw Kyle was carrying his chain saw. You know, as you do. He said he carries it because you never know what you’re going to find out on the prairie.
Another thing that hasn’t changed is Cob’s passion for making holiday cookies. Although we skipped our annual holiday cookie exchange party at Thistledown this year because of COVID concerns, Cob still shipped dozens of cookies to family and friends. His dried orange peel covered in chocolate is my favorite.
There were two sunny weekends in November and a few of us managed to gather in the park for some coffee in the morning, basking in the sun for an hour before it got too cold to stand still. Coffee group was a staple of my social life before the pandemic, especially in the winter, when we weren’t all rushing off to do things as we do in the summer. But two impromptu gatherings at a cold time of year is good enough, as my mantra goes.
Our community has had regular check-ins over Zoom about how we are faring in the pandemic. Just listening to everyone and seeing their faces is very reassuring to me. It is a vivid reminder that I belong to a group and that we really are in this together, even if I don’t see some people regularly because I have had to distance myself from in-person gatherings during the pandemic. I also look forward to a weekly Zoom gathering with my sisters in California and Australia. So Zoom gatherings become my “good enough” versions of what used to be.
One aspect of community living that has really blossomed is charcuterie from Ben and Fox Holler farm, just down the road. This winter he has started a monthly subscription to whatever prepared meats are ready to try from his pantry. I am finding more and more that I am not buying meat from the store and instead I get to sample from such delicacies as rillette (seasoned shredded duck packed with duck fat as a preservative), smoked kielbasa, breakfast maple sausages, smoked duck jerky, and duck and pork bacon.
Speaking of duck bacon, my friend Squirrel and I had some duck bacon in our roasted Brussels sprouts dish as part of our Thanksgiving dinner. Squirrel and I form a contagion pod, as we are at the same level of risk if we were to get COVID. We decided to live it up and cook a full on Thanksgiving dinner, including a delicious chocolate bourbon pecan pie made by Alline. Thanks Alline!
This week there will be a rare celestial event. Jupiter and Saturn will appear to overlap to those on Earth, making what looks like one large bright star in the night sky. Kyle will set up his telescope so that we can see it more closely. I look forward to seeing something larger than my own life, reminding me that I am privileged to be alive, that all is good enough, and that time will put this year behind us soon enough.
Liz Hackney has been a member of Dancing Rabbit for four years. On sunny afternoons, you can see her sanding walnut boards for the straw bale house she’s building. To read more about what life is like at Dancing Rabbit ecovillage, browse our website: www.dancingrabbit.org.