I began to dream of Dancing Rabbit on December 20, 1989. I didn't know yet that's what it was. But that was the day the seed was planted.
I was attending the University of Montana at the time and was flying back to my ancestral Maryland home for the holidays. I watched the snowcapped Rockies from the air and was completely blown away. As an East Coast suburban kid, I had never seen anything like that. Then, we passed over the Midwest for hundred miles I watched as the chessboard of farmed plots slid by below me. Even the rivers ran in little short squared-off segments...a mile east, a mile south, a mile back east. It went on and on and on. That was the moment I really got it about how the sum total of the individual choices of millions of Americans has a huge, and very distinct, effect upon our continent. And it didn't seem right to me, that such a gigantic swath of North America should be so segmented by human use. When I saw it with my own eyes I decided to give up on the career in trombone performance I had been planning and do "something environmental" instead.
I transferred to Stanford University and got a degree in Civil Engineering--environmental and water studies. While at Stanford I had another formative experience living in a student co-op called Synergy. It really got me going about community life and I decided I never wanted to live any other way.
After graduation I stayed close with some of my Synergy friends, especially Dave (my old roommate at Syn) and his wife Frederique. The three of us founded Dancing Rabbit one day while trying to figure out how to demonstrate all sorts of cool eco-techniques, without running afoul of urban building, zoning, and health codes, yet also without getting bored and lonely out in the country by ourselves. If we could just have a bunch of people...heck, a whole darn village...that would do it! Now all we need is a name! We picked Dancing Rabbit, knowing we'd soon change it. That was 1992.
Once the idea of DR got off the ground I took off to travel around the country visiting communities and eco-projects to gain some skills and experience. Everyone told me not to try to start a village, but also gave me a lot of useful feedback to draw on. I spent a fall and a summer at Sandhill Farm and fell in love with northeast Missouri. The terrain, the wildlife, the topography, the vegetation, and the local culture all spoke to me right off the bat. I never thought DR would end up here because of the general remoteness of the place. But in the end, we decided to give it a shot and I've never once regretted it.
I've been a Skyhouse member since its inception in 1996--the old Synergy spirit shining through. I participate in Skyhouse Consulting and help out with Dancing Rabbit things. I still have a yen for foreign travel, and I enjoy playing music (trombone, guitar, or what-have-you) whenever I can. Working with solar power is a passion of mine, as is making speciality food items like tofu, seitan, and homemade pasta.
I enjoy the DR lifestyle, with its overlapping responsibilities and opportunities in many different areas. You should come on out and give it a try, too!
Last updated 7/11/2005.
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