Memphis Democrat Column Week of 2/15/10
Hi friends. This is Alline writing for Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.
This week can be summed up in two words: snow and retreat.
While the storm that hit the Northeast Missouri area was not nearly as dramatic as the one that Washington DC received, it felt pretty big to us. It snowed, and snowed, and then snowed some more. And then it STILL kept coming. While many Rabbits are tired of it (particularly the parents who, twice a day, have to drive the kids to the blacktop to catch the school bus) I remain completely, utterly besotted with snow. Perhaps it comes from growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where, if we wanted snow, we had to drive for four hours. Additionally, I am still slack-jawed at the beauty of each individual snowflake – as a child, carefully folding up paper and cutting “snowflakes,” I could not imagine that this was a fairly close approximation of what they really looked like. If you see me standing outside in a snowstorm staring at my arms and my hands, please remember that I have not gone ‘round the bend, I am merely appreciating snowflakes!
For the sake of our power systems and the batteries that store our electricity, I am glad to see sunshine and blue sky out my window today. The reflection of the sun off of the snow is especially powerful, and it is fun to watch the charge go up, up, up!
This past weekend was the first half of our annual retreat; Sharon and Mary Beth returned from Ecuador just in time to join us. We gathered Thursday evening for a potluck dinner and retreat kick-off. Friday morning we began our meetings. Topics ranged from Visitor Housing to discussions on how we should govern ourselves – we currently use consensus; how it is working for everyone? We also spent several sessions on what our Goals and Priorities for 2010 are going to be – where are we going to focus our energy this coming year? On the short list for consideration are: an overhaul to our website; taking our newsletter, The March Hare, digital; revitalizing our Land Management Team (tasked with stewardship of the land outside of the village proper); decision making and governance; implementing the plan to change/develop the circle driveway at the entrance to Dancing Rabbit; buying a tractor; a Constitutional Convention, where we reexamine our documents and policies to make sure they are in alignment with our values and current tax laws; building a parking lot (everyone sing along with Joni Mitchell here); landscaping the courtyard; building visitor housing; indexing all of our previous decisions; a Dancing Rabbit Vehicle Cooperative vehicle upgrade; revitalizing the Human Resources committee (which oversees any employees of DR Inc.); and last but certainly not least, discussing the possibility of a grid intertie system for power. Whew! It sometimes seems overwhelming, but at the same time is a rather exhilarating – imagine having the power to change your world! Each person here has the ability to make a big difference in the lives of others and in the development and growth of our home/community.
A retreat doesn’t happen all by itself – Tony, Brian and Ma'ikwe worked long and hard to structure not only the topics but the entire weekend. Dinner was provided for the entire group on Friday and Saturday (Anthony crafted a Korean feast, and Chad & Alyson prepared a burrito extravaganza) and Rabbits took turns bringing snacks for both morning and afternoon sessions. The topics were thoroughly researched and prepared, and thoughtfully presented by Cob, Jennifer, Tony, Bear, Lily, and Ma'ikwe. Our friends Sarah B., Renay from Sandhill and Barb from Wisconsin helped with childcare so that Rabbits who are parents could relax and concentrate on the meetings. We are so appreciative for their work! And Joe and Evan, who are students of Laird and Maikwe’s facilitation training, provided a safe, comfortable framework for us to work within. We were also very happy to welcome Tamar back – she’ll be with us for two weeks.
One of the most interesting topics, at least for me, is considering going from having our own independent solar/wind power systems to hooking up to “the grid.” Please see the Mem Dem Letters to the Editor or my blog (http://ecovillagemusings.blogspot.com/)for more on this (too much to go into here!).
Are you interested in spending time at Dancing Rabbit this summer and fall? Members of Dancing Rabbit are currently looking for folks interested in Work Exchange opportunities – there are spots available for construction, gardening and child care. The Milkweed Mercantile will also be looking for several chef-assistants and food preservation helpers later in the summer. For more info, please see http://www.dancingrabbit.org/social_change/interns.php
The Milkweed Mercantile at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage will be opening in March and is now accepting reservations for rooms and seminars. For more info, please see: http://milkweedmercantile.com/inn/
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community in Rutledge, Missouri practicing ecological sustainability. Tours are over for the season, but will be offered again starting in April. For more information, please see our website at http://www.dancingrabbit.org