Memphis Democrat Column Week of 3/1/10
Ted here with this week's news from Dancing Rabbit.
My week began with an unexpected twist. Aurelia and I, headed back from a weekend wedding in Florida on our first trip together without Sara, made it as far as Quincy on the train from Chicago, only to find that the latest bout of falling snow meant our ride couldn't make it to ferry us home. Our truck, which might have made it, happened to be in the shop for a brake job. We stayed the night in a hotel, and I must confess I felt a sadness to be so close to home yet still stranded, particularly after having spent the previous day building sandcastles on a Gulf coast beach, but Aurelia stayed buoyant throughout, raising my spirits. We passed the hours reading book after book in the local library until Sara had raised some of our neighbors to plow the road so that a car could be sent for us. It was a short trip all in all, but I couldn't recall having been more glad to be home at last. Thanks to our friends with plows, and Sara for her rescue work!
The delay meant that I'd missed the final day of our retreat, which was sad, but most business was wrapped up satisfactorily, and each villager was soon back at his or her winter routine, sunlight slowly melting the accumulated snow cover and keeping spirits high.
Sara and I celebrate our birthdays back to back each February, and Sara celebrated hers in part by joining in on a workshop Tuesday afternoon on a Chinese medicine-based therapy called Tui-Na. This is one of the primary therapies Tamar has pursued in her healing process, and to which she attributes her excellent progress in healing from cancer. Tamar had invited a practitioner of Tui-Na from Fairfield, Iowa to come down and lead the workshop. All attendees I spoke found the workshop valuable, and I was glad to see our abilities to maintain health and wellness in the community growing deeper.
My birthday followed the next day, including among other things some tobogganing with Aurelia and opening some gifts from my parents that made a timely arrival with the mail. The highlight, however, came at dinner. Alyssa was Sunflower's dinner cook, and had cooked up the idea several days before of inviting everybody who wanted to join us to make and bring their own pizza, and turn it into a potluck. I counted about forty people and more than 20 homemade pizzas and other contributions. Highlights included Alyssa's sourdough crust, Ziggy and April's homemade mozzarella, and chef Anthony's usual gourmet contributions, but every pizza I tasted was exceptional. We played some voluntary musical chairs throughout the meal so that those who wanted to could mix up their dining company as the meal progressed. My birthday felt well celebrated, and I now think we should be having a pizza potluck at least monthly! I love living in a place where such feasts are possible without much planning ahead.
Saturday afternoon many of the women journeyed over to Sandhill for the second installment of a women's storytelling gathering kindled last month. Jennifer's life story took the stage this week, and though I was not in attendance, I've heard only pleased reviews of the gatherings. I've heard some noise about the men here getting together for a similar purpose.
Aurelia and I popped into the Mercantile while Sara was away at the storytelling to acquire a German chocolate cupcake, and found Kurt, Alline, Anthony, and Anthony's visiting parents all hard at work rearranging the shop and inventory. I understand all the Mercantile staff have lengthy lists of to-dos, but we're all looking forward excitedly to the grand opening coming up soon. Their first weekend seminar, with fermented foods guru Sandor Katz, is only a week away-- be sure to give the Mercantile a call if you're interested in participating.
Sadly we had to say goodbye to Tamar Sunday morning, as her two week visit came to an end. She seemed to have done a great job of scheduling lots of time with all her friends while here. Tamar has always been a great one for encouraging play, and sledding with her shortly after her arrival was a good reminder of how much I miss her presence here. She has not yet decided whether she's ready to move back, but we are all deeply grateful for her continued healing, and clearly her place in the village can't be filled by anybody else.
With the steady stream of sunny weather this week, we've been slowly, slowly clawing our way back to a fully-charged battery bank in the common building. When the batteries get quite low in a lengthy low-power period such as we had a month ago, it is essential that the batteries be allowed to get back to full as soon as possible, or the life of the batteries can be compromised. With as many people as we have relying on the building, though, and for so many functions, it is challenging to get back to full. I've thought for some years that we ought to add a wind turbine to the building's power system to complement the solar panels. As our population grows, so does our ability to afford such things, as the cost is spread among more people; yet the long list of potential improvements we might seek means we still have to pick and choose among them.
As the high season approaches, I'm feeling a similar imperative to pick and choose among possible projects for the year. Sara and I are interviewing potential work exchangers for our house addition project, planting seeds for the garden, and trying to wrap up our winter work to clear the decks for everything to come, and we're not the only ones in that transition. Here's to Spring!
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community in Rutledge, Missouri practicing ecological sustainability. Tours will begin again in April. Meanwhile, for more information, please see our website at http://www.dancingrabbit.org, email us at email@example.com or give us a call at (660) 883-5511.