You know you are an eco hippie when 50 degrees feels warm in your house and you go to bed at 9:30 because it is super dark and feels really late.
I do have fire wood that was provided to me, but I think I’m discovering that perhaps I have values around what kind of wood I burn for my heat. Some people have values around meat eating, I have some around firewood. I don’t like to burn wood unless I know it was dead first, so I’m going out into the forest behind the cabin and foraging dry dead wood like a squirrel. On top of that I am going to see how long I can go without lighting a fire in the cabin to be warm. I figure that when it drops below 30-35 degrees inside that will be cold enough to light a fire. Good thing I have warm blankets to sleep under.
The winter has been, well, very cold! It’s usually about 10 degrees outside. Dancing Rabbit has a totally different rhythm in the winter. When it’s warm there is usually something going on every day, but in winter maybe only one to three times a week. Not as much happens around the village and people go to bed early because it gets so dark early. Although, I am grateful for the cold times because the amount of village email also takes a lull in winter.
I decided to get a tattoo. It’s my first and maybe only tattoo. Scout got a tattoo gun after being taught the art by Uncle Kurt’s family member, Denae, who visits from time to time. Scout offered 5 people a free tattoo so he could practice and build some credit, whoever responded to his email first. Luckily I was cleaning out my inbox of village email after I got home when the message went out. I think Scout did a really nice job, and hopefully the art will bring him some business around here. The tattoo is of the Dancing Rabbit logo, but with a little ying yang leaf twist, and the dancing rabbit looks like a dancing rabbit right side up or upside down. I think I am the first person to get a DR tattoo, but it’s something I thought I’d get if I lived here when I first met Denae while I was a visitor. It’s really awesome and I’m really happy and excited about it, but I can’t tell how I’m going to feel about it when I’m 80. I guess that is the magic of life because there’s no way to know what I’ll be thinking and feeling in 50 years, but at least it’s something I treasure now. I excitedly show it to peoples around the village. (See this month’s slide show for a photo).
I went ice skating on the pond for the first time today. It was amazing and fun to glide over the ice covering the pond I mostly know as being the swimming pond.
I’ve only lit a few fires in the cabin so far, but it’s getting colder and icy. I figure that when I can see my breath inside, it’s time to light a fire. Now I have to light a fire once or twice a day so it doesn’t get see-my-breath cold in my cabin. I have been enjoying collecting my own fire wood though. I feel like I learn a lot about nature when I’m out gathering wood. When my mother taught me how to make a fire when I was younger she told me that you want smaller pieces of wood in with bigger pieces and that is exactly how nature grows the branches, how convenient. Branches are bigger at the base and smaller at the tips of the limbs.
Today was also the first game of Broom Ball this winter. If you don’t know, broom ball is a game where a bunch of people with brooms, no ice skates, using an osage orange as a ball, try to hit the ball into the other team’s goal, the goals being a log. The ball just has to touch the log for a point. This game was not made up here but it is a winter tradition.
It snowed last night. It almost looked like dusk at 10pm because it was so white everywhere and reflecting light. I think this is the most snow I’ve seen for a couple years. It was strangely comforting to have the blanket of clouds in the sky and a winter wonderland all around. I try to take pictures when it snows because I’m so used to seeing DR in the warm times, the snow is so beautiful and novel to me still.
Back to the city, I’m visiting family in Seattle for the holiday. It took the usual two day train ride and I spent half a month’s worth of wages to get here. When the train past the mountains the snow disappeared and the forest looked like home (the growing up in Seattle kind of home). There’s no snow here and it feels warm compared to the 20 or below degree weather in Missouri. It is quite strange to come back to city land now and then. It seems like every hour is rush hour in Seattle. My parents offered me some grapes, I don’t remember the last time I ate grapes, I was pretty excited… over grapes. They have a dish washer and a microwave and the house feels way to warm at night even though the temperature drops to as low as 55 or 60 because my parents like to sleep when it is a bit cold.
Today I went for a little doctor check up and they took some blood. Since my veins are small, the nurses in Missouri always have trouble getting blood from me and usually have to stick me in each arm sometimes more than once before they get anything, but they always get blood on the first try in Seattle.
Then my mom treated me to lunch at a sushi place in a yuppy outdoor shopping mall that used to seem like home. University Village now feels like an alien world. Sushi was so good, I like it but only get it when I come to a city. There was also a huge parking garage that had gone up since I was last there and at the base of the parking garage was a whole new row of shops including the third Starbucks in the mall and a Seattleite ice cream shop that had all sorts of flavors like Earl Gray and Lavender. There was also a store just for cupcakes! What a strange emersion into the world of consumerism. We had to pray to the parking angels for a parking spot and my mom joked that she was going to try to sell her parking space to the next guy for $20. For the gaming Nintendo geeks, I also got about 10 Street Passes on my 3DS when I’m used to getting none every day so 10 in one day was amazing (that means I also passed 10 other people carrying around the 3DS device).
My mother sings in a chorus and they went to sing at a retirement home last night. The music was so beautiful and it made me thankful that I get experiences like that I wouldn’t have otherwise at DR, listening to a live chorus sing Christmas music. Life at DR makes you grateful for such small things. Drama from home seeps to creep into my life while I’m away, but I just told it, through that virtual electronic box, not to bother me until I am back if it was going to junk up my nice holiday, predictably dashing the warmth of the season that filled my heart with music, which is strange because it comes from people who are friends and supposedly loving toward me. Their tiny drama felt almost like a huge turd of bullshit I felt like rolling down a hill and pushing out of my heart as my hopes for me in the coming year are renewed by the holiday warmth and soon-to-be New Year.
Christmas Eve in the city, and what’s going on for me in my life. A big thought about how, just like Sushi, polyamory in Seattle is quite yummy. I mean don’t get me wrong, the sushi I ate in Kirksville was pretty good, but it was one of the only sushi places around and they did their best. Kind of like at home, we do our best, but even people at home, even if they’ve been polyamorous for years, they don’t get nearly the experience and exposure to polyamory with their loved ones in life as one might in, say, Seattle.
Polyamory in community is quite a different animal than it is elsewhere. Mind you, not everyone at DR is polyamorous, but it is something that some people identify with as being their preferred mode of romantic style. Since DR is kind of like living with 70 roommates who see each other all the time and usually know each other’s business like a family, the need to be more graceful and gracious in polyamorous relationships is much higher. The pickings are also slimmer, the chance of meeting new lovely interesting people is lower, and due to lack of experience and exposure, even after years, it poses other issues as well, sometimes for the better, sometimes more dramatic. People at home are also more likely to have written guidelines or sexual boundaries and morals, whether it’s for their own sanity or to prevent passing or contracting diseases. Compared to all the poly socializing I’m doing over my few week holiday in Seattle, my polyamorous romantic life at home feels like childcare. Something I do because I choose to do it and I like it, but it almost feels like dealing with children, most of the time. It needs more nurturing, care, compassion, and patience and silly things are more prone to happening. Sometimes it’s silly, like oh I really enjoy that, and sometimes it’s silly like you’re messing up my shit because you don’t know any better.
As far as dating in general in an ecovillage goes, there’s usually no need to call (or text) each other on the phone all the time, unless it’s something quick from one house to the other, and we certainly have the option but it’s not the usual norm to get in a car to go on a date or out with friends. After a few years of living in situations where a car for a date is unnecessary, I’ve discovered a slight aversion I didn’t know I had and I certainly didn’t have when I lived in the city before. Getting super passionate in a car is dumb. It’s not the most comfy thing and it’s a bit awkward because of how the seats are set up. I bet Rabbits rarely make out in a car, unless anyone would do it intentionally for the novelty of it, why do such a silly thing when you can find a more comfortable open space. I didn’t know that my psyche would respond to such a thing with, as fun as this is, I don’t really like getting super passionate in a car, find me a bed or at least the inside of a house. That’s certainly nothing I carried around before. Oh, the joys of living in an ecovillage, it’s a big experiment and full of learning and self discovery.