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I remember when I was in college, I hated the time when I was back on campus but classes hadn’t started yet. There’s something about the in-between time and the waiting around that is pretty uncomfortable for me.
This season of the year also feels like a time of uncertainty and waiting for sure. And I am working on being okay with that, though it’s not always easy.
Christina here, writing about the strange in-between time of early December here in Northeastern Missouri.
The last time I wrote a DR article, I was in the final days of food processing and harvesting, with so many tasks that it was all I could do to make the list every day. We were in the throes of programs, visitors and work exchangers, who add liveliness and excitement to the village.
Now, the garden is mostly put to bed, and we are happily eating the sweet potatoes, squash, and tomato sauce that is the result of so much work over the spring, summer, and fall. We’re also enjoying the recently-butchered pork products from Fox Holler Farm as we wait for the smoked treats to come later. People here are slowly leaving for the season or to visit family for the holidays.
I’m ready to unpack all our winter gear and get out in the snow, but, with the exception of a few days, the temperature hasn’t really felt like winter. With days in the 60s but the sun down so early, it’s hard to know what season this is. In fact, we still haven’t covered the strawberries or finished mulching the garden, and it seems like I might actually have a few more garden work days left in this year.
Our family is winding down school as we move towards winter break, but still trying to get in the daily math pages and writing practice. Not quite in vacation mode yet, but also definitely not riding off of the energy that comes with the start-of-a-new-time excitement.
The goats and cows are in the barn, where they’ll be for the next few months, eating hay and drinking lots of water. One day in late March probably, we’ll put them on new pasture and then the days of goat parades and daily fence moving will start back up for me again. But for now, my only dairy co-op task is to take some water to the barn and wait for the spring.
I’m on two committees, the Conflict Resolution Committee and the newly formed IAAHC (Integrity and Agreements Ad Hoc Committee). The first deals with conflict and the second is working on creating new systems for how we deal with agreements, especially when people don’t follow them. I look forward to doing some good work with those committees, and I think we have some great ideas for how to improve life around here. But my guess is that when we meet this week, we will mostly make lists of tasks to tackle after the new year.
There are some ways in which things are getting back to normal around here, except maybe we can’t always remember what normal was.
We have been having regular weekly potlucks, but since we are not meeting in the Common House without masks, we’ve been eating outdoors, during lunch, and on different days depending on the weather. Women’s Circle is still meeting, Ultimate frisbee happens almost once a week, and the Village Council still meets every Sunday. But community dinner, morning coffee, and other regular events that were dropped at the start of the pandemic have never fully come back.
We have been working on finding ways to connect that work for varying levels of COVID safety needs, and yet it does sometimes feel more like work and less like the easy community that it once was.
Remember back in March, 2020 when we thought we’d have all sorts of answers about this pandemic within a few weeks? Remember when the idea of changing our lives for a few months seemed like a heroic effort, and we believed that we’d have a definite end in which we’d achieve our goals and we have all the answers? Yeah, so do I.
In my pre-DR life, early December was probably the most hectic time of the whole year. There was enough noise and lights and cookies and rushing around to distract anyone. All I had to do was survive those few weeks, day to day.
The holiday season here is definitely different. While we did have a bustling and lovely holiday fair last week at the Milkweed Mercantile, it’s a quiet time of year here in the Tri-communities. I am looking forward to a few small gatherings, with more games and more of the food we harvested in the fall, but that’s about as busy as it will get.
Of course, we are also moving towards the darkest day of the year in a few short days, so I’m trying to be more intentional about this unique season. It’s not always easy for me, but I also know that soon enough I’ll be making new lists and setting goals for 2022, anticipating all the excitement and busyness of a new year.
But also, I know that things will likely continue to feel uncertain and strangely in-between for a while.
Christina Lovdal Gil is a seven on the enneagram personality scale, which means she loves to have many projects going at the same time. And our village definitely benefits! I love her festive, red velvet leggings…