Greetings from Cob at Dancing Rabbit, with another week in the life at your favorite ecovillage. Just when we thought the roads were dry enough for Luke Zimmerman to come in and dig them up for us, the elements had different ideas. Not that I need rain to get our truck stuck, apparently I can to that anytime. I simply ventured to far down toward our lower garden area (below the cattail pond) with a full trailer load of mulch and sank into the soft ground. After emptying the mired vehicle our neighbor Oren kindly gave us a pull out early the next morning with his nice big shiny tractor. I want one of those! As much as we try to reduce our reliance on manufactured fuel, it’s sobering to see just how much time and personal effort a little petroleum can save. No wonder our society has become so addicted!
The rains early in the week were perfect for transplanting the remaining seedlings out into the garden, but put a halt to many other construction projects. Fortunately things dried out sufficiently for Ma’ikwe to get her foundation dug and her crew is pushing to get the forms and gravel in place for cement pour later this week before our perpetually delayed roads project gets underway. Meanwhile Ma’ikwe hosted a M*A*S*H themed party on site in her big old Army tent. The weather was delightful, and the stars and fireflys were both stunning in their abundance. Lest you think a late night might slow us down, we held our first No-Talent Show of 2009 the following evening. Comedy routines, musical performances, and uncategorizable acts of all kinds were performed for the tri-community’s enjoyment. Some of our current visitors also got into the action and participated enthusiastically. Some of our visitors have been so enthusiastic that they’ve
requested extensions on their visit! We’ve welcomed them to stay another couple weeks, and can’t help but wonder if we’ll see some additional residency requests by next week.
The large number of wexers (work exchangers) currently in town has also contributed to the large numbers of folks at potlucks, social events, and brought fresh energy to our lives in so many ways. Thanks to everyone who comes through and helps us build the dream! I’m turning the rest of this column over to one of Ma’ikwe’s wexers, Anika, who unfortunately will be moving on to other committments next week. It’s been a joy to have her here. The following is her retrospective look at her stay at Dancing Rabbit:
“HE-WHOA! If we have crossed paths, you will have come to know my high-pitched greeting. This is your neighborhood Pakistani wexer, giving a shout out to all my new friends on the wonderful happenings over my five and a half weeks at Dancing Rabbit. Normally, a memdem contributor would recount the previous week, but I would like to share with you all my overall experience. Upon entering a new environment, I usually find myself in an awkward frame of mind, as I try to adjust to the unfamiliar surroundings and faces. However en route to Dancing Rabbit, I coincidentally sat by my fellow wexer, April, on the greyhound, which gave us the opportunity to get to know one another and share our impending excitement for the adventures that lie ahead. When Ma’ikwe and Jeff, our hosts, walked through the bus station doors, and led us to the big muddy white truck, despite the constant downpour and millions of questions spinning through my head, Jibran’s silly grin
and Ma’ikwe’s warm demeanor immediately put me at ease. There was also mention of coolers full o’ beer, which also helped.
I started my first official day as a DR wexer going over the details of Ma’ikwe’s vision for a natrual home while enjoying the vastness and peculiar army smell of the BAAT (big ass army tent), also known as my current home away from home. Tent Hilton is strewn with tie-dye tapestries, accompanied by a lounge chair, and filled with all the snacks and tea I could possibly consume. Ma’ikwe does it up right. Since my arrival, up until my final days, DR has continued to provide an environment where every day is filled with new experiences and increased self-awareness. The end of May has been lucky to see the faces of several enthusiastic visitors, drums beating while the sun sets and rabbits with martini glasses in hand, a woo, and an excavation day highlighted by Mennonite children riding up in a skid steer. Oh what a crazy trip it has been.
As my days here come to an end, I find myself enjoying the present, every moment. If I don’t, I can get caught up in the ‘what if’s’ of the future, making it hard to appreciate being here now. I have spent the majority of my adult years learning all things academic, writing papers that do not carry much meaning beyond the professors who read them, and presenting on topics only to forget them the next day. My yearning for an authentic relationship with the land and for a spiritual, tangible experience behind the words led me to Dancing Rabbit. I can now say that I have helped people build their natural homes through building and raising bents, worked with concrete insulated forms, grew organic vegetables, and gained carpentry skills. Beyond all that I have had the opportunity to learn about consensus building and non-violent communication, all through people passionate about these skills, which in turn, makes me passionate to learn them.
Dancing Rabbit has opened my heart in so many ways, I wake up every morning wanting to take it all in. Sometimes I overwhelm myself with the endless possibilities for meaningful relationships, learning opportunities, eye-opening conversations, and memorable moments. I am at awe with the commitment to a sustainable and mindful lifestyle that Dancing Rabbit and its members embody. I have filled up my days doing everything I can to have as many experiences as possible, from taking piano lessons with Meadow, going on bike rides even when it’s raining, jumping in the pond when I know its freezing, learning web skills with Matt and Nathan, attending CAFO meetings and the local flea market, having lunch at Zimmerman’s, learning Spanish with BJ, making tofu with Dan, practicing yoga with Tamar, gardening with Alyssa….AND wexing with the beautiful Ma’ikwe.
Dancing Rabbit has provided me with opportunity to step out of my hectic lifestyle full of running habitually late to my day of 3 hour classes with a granola bar in hand, to passing out drooling on my desk, to shoving dinner in my face without chewing, and ending my night with a frantic panic to get to the gym to stay fit in the midst of all the chaos. To me, Dancing Rabbit IS Heaven. Seven months ago, I wrote an email to Dancing Rabbit, desperately searching for an experience that would facilitate personal growth and bring meaning back to why I decided to pursue a masters degree. I now leave Dancing Rabbit with optimism not just for my future, but also for the future of the planet. I will miss hugging Jan, making funny faces at Zane and Aurelia, helping Ma’ikwe build her home, waking up to all things alive, eating with a community, getting my hands dirty, and pooing in a bucket. Thank you Dancing Rabbit for all you have given me by being exactly as
And thank YOU Anika, for sharing your experiences with us! If you are interested in experiencing life at Dancing Rabbit, consider applying for a space in our official visitor program, peruse the available work exchange positions, or take the bi-weekly public tour. Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is a nonprofit and a residential community that demonstrates ecological sustainability in Rutledge, MO. Our next tour will take place on Saturday, June 13th at 1:00 p.m. Please call us at (660) 883-5522 and let us know you will be joining us for the tour, and how many people will be in your party; you will not receive a confirmation phone call. Please visit dancingrabbit.org for more information.