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What a week to share the latest from our fair ecovillage! It is 25 years this year since a small band of inspired people arrived here in Northeast Missouri to found an intentional community with an ecological mission. Last week, former members, residents, interns and friends of Dancing Rabbit descended upon the village to join current villagers for a celebration of those 25 years, and I can only say I had a blast and was grateful to see each person who made the journey. Ted here to share a few snapshots from the events.
No matter how perfectly planned, an event that tries to celebrate a long history can only scratch the surface of representing and remembering the countless days that have added up to all that we’ve built here. Between the impact of COVID of the past couple years and some mailing list challenges along the way, not as many people made the journey as I could have dreamed. And yet those who did represented a thorough range of village history, and meant that I kept going from one great conversation to another, with room for depth and connection.
One of the great pleasures for me was that I’d brought Aurelia home from school in Wisconsin for the event. At 15 going on 16, she’s been around for most of the same period I have, albeit with a bit of a different perspective, so she too had plenty of people to catch up with and her own relationships to bring up to date. It still amazes me that somebody I once knew as an infant has grown to that cusp of adulthood, where I just sit back and watch her go instead of being her caregiver; and where she does a lot of the driving!
Almost every villager helped make the event possible, from the planning and correspondence, to setting up tents and tables, offering tours of the village, cooking for a crowd, and cleaning, among other responsibilities. I especially enjoyed the inventive field games planned and run by Brumby and Jed in town center, which included some soaking and hilarious water events, native plant knowledge, and running around with wheelbarrows. The ultimate Frisbee game (unbelievably, the first of the year!) was an absolute highlight for me, playing for two hours with full teams and subs and some of my favorite fellow players from past seasons though not having played since November, I hurt for a few days afterward. In the best way.
The reunion had been planned to coincide with Sandhill’s annual May Day celebration, including a memorial for beloved former member Stan Hildebrand, who passed away last year. Those events brought out a whole additional roster of friends and acquaintances, as well as some folks I’d never had the pleasure of meeting before. More kids (and some adults!) climbed the Maypole after the dance than ever before, while the improv string band played on. I especially enjoyed seeing some of the recent updates to various buildings, and helping send a flotilla of candle-lit origami rafts out on the pond toward the end of the evening.
Sunday, despite being the closing day, included still more great events, including an excellent contradance in the afternoon with the perfect number of dancers to fill the hall with laughter, flying feet, and live guitar and banjo. I had to depart right afterward to accompany Aurelia back to school in Wisconsin, but I heard the no-talent show that evening was surprisingly excellent, even though some of the weekenders had departed beforehand. I was sorry to miss it.
Space doesn’t permit me to list all those who made it, nor lament all those who were missed, but all in all, it was an excellent long weekend to savor for another five years.
In other news, summer is more or less upon us, with lots of warm temperatures and the grass and other weeds more than tall enough to tackle with a scythe. After the cold, wet previous month, I’m playing catch up trying to get the garden planted, grateful for some help in planting and tending seedlings. Slowly, it comes together. Thankfully, there are lots of perennials to delight; the reward of labor from previous seasons. The color range and scent of irises blooming this past week was just heavenly. Now the blackberries and other canes are blooming profusely, and we can settle in to see whether we’ll get enough well-timed rains to fatten up the resulting berries.
With the next visitor session, an Ecovillage Weekend Experience, and a natural building workshop all approaching in the near future, the village gets only a short breather before we welcome the next new faces some of whom will no doubt show up to the 30th reunion. I do love the way those layers add up over time. Critter kitchen denizens began cooking and eating together this week, and I understand that construction on the new outdoor kitchen is due to begin any day, rising from the ashes. New work exchangers will arrive soon to join the gang; the pace of summer is thrilling.
That’s it from here for the moment, except to say that if you’d like to get in on some of our upcoming events, it is not too late. Please give us a holler so we can help you get signed up. Also, a giant thanks to all of you supporters out there who donated to Dancing Rabbit on the recent Give STL Day! Happy planting and yay summer!
Ted Sterling has been a frequent contributor lately for this newsletter, as two of our regular writers are on holiday for several months. Thanks to you, Ted, for all of your beautifully written articles that share our way of life and latest news with those who can’t be here with us.