Resident Vick here, with my mind on transitions and transitions on my mind…
See, lately, I’ve been spending time getting to know some of our most recent guests at Dancing Rabbit. Namely, the woolly bears – fuzzy-wuzzy orange and black tootsie rolls, larval adolescents of the Isabella tiger moth – who I repeatedly find myself needing to rescue from the bicycle path near my tent.
I’ve been watching them inch their ways along on some mysterious business and I can’t help but wonder: where are they all going? What are they looking for? Will they recognize it when they find it? Do they see their silken gold cocoons as a kind of dignified auto-enterramento, self-imposed deep-six, each believing it has reached its natural end? Or do they go into it knowing they will metamorphose into something new and different, with talents unattainable to them in their current state?
I have to admit, my train of thought was largely inspired by Kassandra and her innovative birthday celebration earlier this week. She turned forty, and chose to see this milestone in her life as an opportunity to reflect on how the experiences of her past have led her to be the person she is today, while looking forward to her future in a state of awakened anticipation.
Everything started with a brief session of art making – I chose to draw a diverse collage of creatures representing the evolutionary progression of life on our planet, culminating in humankind and journeying into space. Meadoe and Loren chose colorful, free-flowing forms and brocades of interlocking patterns, while the children hung out nearby for a knitting session.
Kassandra’s piece was a take on the number 40, its zero signified by a sunflower borne aloft on a stem of time marked by key years in her past, its seed head an open door to the future with her likeness, complete with characteristic long hair and fuchsia pants, taking the first step across the threshold. At her request, Tereza appended a few piquant feline attributes to the four.
Afterwards, many people came together to offer Kassandra something I have come to call (not knowing its proper term of reference) the Angel Walk. We stood abreast in two long rows, forming a corridor between us and humming in unison. As the blindfolded birthday co walked through, we each offered her a kind nudge further on her way, whispering words of wisdom, love and appreciation. Nathan took a turn as well, face split ear to ear with a Cheshire cat smile, and ended his journey with a group hug, after some spontaneous, and anonymous, partner dancing.
Other transitions are in the works, inside and outside of Dancing Rabbit. The trees have donned their autumn colors to mourn the passing of summer. The gardens have undergone their final harvests. Preparations have been laid for the flush of spring, and heavy rains have shifted the course of meandering paths once more. (By the way, did you know that “petrichor” is a word for that refreshing smell after a drizzle?)
Bagels and his band opened a show for our friend John Craigie, who came back through on his circuitous journey busking across the country. He has a style not unlike Rambling Jack Elliot – I would have made the comparison even if it wasn’t on his website– based on charming folksongs, storytelling and invocation of the indomitable Chuck Norris.
Having seen him play twice, it was interesting to compare his last show to this one, which took place in Dancing Rabbit’s own eco bed and breakfast, the Milkweed Mercantile, which was packed as full as a can of sardines following Thursday’s Pizza Night, which is totally open to the public, by the way. All I can say about the music that night is that one song’s chorus has been haunting my dreams all week – “Let’s talk it over, when we’re sober, and we’re not at Burning Man…”
Our current visitors have undergone a transition of their own, shifting from an insular group of outsiders abiding in a state of culture shock to a real and integral part of our sustainable society. They’ve spent the week learning about what life is like at Dancing Rabbit, helped some of our members with projects around the village, and even put some of our social practices to good use for themselves.I think every visitor group is an interesting group, but this one is especially so, and I’m sad that they will be our last until spring of 2015. There will be plenty of opportunities to visit next year, so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of program dates, early next year at the latest.
Visitors Andy and Stephanie decided to host a dance night at La Casa de Cultura, where even I could not escape the inevitability of transitions this week. In my case, I was dragged kicking and screaming away from a state of total-non-dancer into a semi-willing isomer of fidgeting around in a dance-like way. I learned a couple of swing steps from Andy, I waltzed for a while with Sharon, and Bri showed me how to cut a rug polka style. It will be a long time before I can keep up with the acrobatic capers of some of our more agile dancers, but at least I got to cross something off my bucket list.
On Saturday we had our first, and maybe only, No/Talent Show of the year, in which truly talented people from our community bare their souls for all to see in performance of art they have worked years to perfect – while the rest of us keep the stage warm between sets by goofing around.
Farmer Dan, guitarist of some twenty-five years, presented a beautiful acoustic Neil Young cover. Cob, in the guise of Mrs. Freud, interpreted dreams for some of the audience with extemporaneous humor, leaving us with the sage advice to include more cookies in our lives.
Meadoe and a partner performed an outrageously funny variety skit including song, comedy and piano playing, for which some folks have been waiting over a year.One of our visitors, David, read tarot cards, and another visitor, Ryo, demonstrated a few Aikido techniques from his native Japan. Then, with musical accompaniment from visitor Nabil, our very own resident Olivander, fabled wand merchant and tallest descendant of the Bullroarer, Bandobras Took, sang a gut-busting rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”, which we couldn’t lampoon if we tried.
Just another week in the life at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, where we bear ongoing witness to climactic transitions that will impact our entire planet, and strive to empower the world to cope with them. I heard that some of the warmer days this week smashed long-standing temperature records for this time of year. It’s nice wearing a t-shirt and shorts in the middle of October, but what does it mean for the kind of planet our great-grandchildren will inherit? I like to believe that we humans are like the woolly bear, tucked away in its cocoon, changing by small degrees into something new and wonderful, awaiting the right time to emerge and take flight.
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Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an intentional community and nonprofit outside Rutledge, in northeast Missouri, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Find out more about us by visiting our website, reading our blog, or emailing us.