It’s as if we’re always preparing for something. The endless roll of the earth ripening us. From Late August, by Mary Chivers
We are entering October—a time of harvest which brings the last year’s cycle to a close. Daylight is waning and the forces of Nature draw downward, fold inward, as a prelude to Winter’s dreamtime. The Harvest Moon marks a natural new year, a time to celebrate and give thanks for all the bounty and sustenance which the Earth has bestowed upon us for yet another spin around the Sun.
At Common Ground, our motivation to become an agrarian ecovillage is strong. This Almanac is full of news and many ways to engage with each other and the land. We hope you’ll come to the Fall Celebration and Education Weekend on October 21-22, which will offer a gateway into what life together on this land can be like from learning and working to playing and feasting.
We’re making it up as we go along, working with the currents and flows of What Is as we strive towards What Can Be. Endeavoring to find the sweet spot that strikes a balance among the many factors in play that will illumine, like today’s Harvest Supermoon, a beautiful and synergistic pathway forward.
All that matters is that you are making something you love, to the best of your ability, here and now.― Rick Rubin, The Creative Act: A Way of Being
It’s coming up to the Autumnal Equinox, and a cycle that was set in motion last fall is coming to completion now. Flowers and fruits of bygone seasons have yielded to brittle pods, splitting open and delivering messages to the future in their own particular ways, some seeds drifting on the breeze like milkweed wisps and others dropping straight to the ground like acorns. We’ve hit the Solstice highs and lows, and this Equinox invites us to shift into to neutral for a spell, calmly regarding all that the year has wrought and how that may influence what wants to happen next.
Last fall, we were headed towards developing a housing coop with a blanket mortgage. This year, the picture that’s coming into focus looks different. Yet we continue to engage in what we love, connecting with each other and the land with faithfulness, inspiration, and care, realizing our collective vision through every-day opportunities.
September’s Almanac abounds with such daily chances to exercise your body, mind, and heart however you are drawn to do so. From harvesting corn, to dancing with NVC, to crafting a database, to having a conversation at a potluck–all of it counts and contributes to the ever-evolution of this visionary agrarian community. We humans operate on human time, and while the dust of stars and the elements of eons may be in our bones and blood, our hearts revolve in rhythms far more immediate and measurable. You are invited do things great and small, right now, together.
Love is still the only revenge. It grows each time the earth is set on fire. –Ayisha Siddiqua, excerpt from “ON ANOTHER PANEL ABOUT CLIMATE, THEY ASK ME TO SELL THE FUTURE AND ALL I’VE GOT IS A LOVE POEM”*
At the July Community in the Round meeting, participants were asked to name a favorite summer fruit or vegetable. Mouth-watering descriptions amidst smiles and laughter ensued. Farmer Doug listed the many benefits that farm and forest endeavors bring to the community, and he wowed us with so many exciting projects—some ongoing, some imagined—that are manifesting here. People shared stories in small groups about what farming and being connected to land meant to them. No one wanted to stop when it was time for a break.
The meeting continued on a more solemn note. Katy and Anthony from Planning & Development offered the latest way they are trying to slice the development pie into realistic and workable segments. A look at the current financial picture revealed that (as with so much else in the world) “business as usual” won’t get us where we want to go. But persist we must, because this vision is too precious, too alive, too rich to NOT become true. Oh, and then we had a potluck liberally laced with foods from the farm to enjoy together.
A volunteer videographer, Random Gott, is giving members an opportunity to tell their stories about what brought them to Common Ground. When it was my turn, I surprised myself by saying that grief for the state of the world brought me here. But it’s love for the land; for this forming agrarian community, and for Earth herself that keeps me going through the obstacles.
We all are called to protect and sustain what we love. Common Ground needs your courage and contributions (including cash) to further unfold. The Almanac is your guide to many ways to engage. We hope you’ll come and put your heart into it.
I know so many people desperate to make a difference now, to turn things around NOW. It’s hard to say, but it’s possible we’re part of a bucket brigade here; you got the bucket from somebody else and you are going to hand it on. Maybe we’ll only know the middle… With any luck, with any legacy, we make it possible for the next generation to go on with some kind of hope/confidence/courage/willingness.(Barbara Brown Taylor, in an Interview with Krista Tippet, On Being, ep. 1,100)
We’ve got issues at Common Ground that have defied resolution for many years despite steady labor towards, and investment in, this vision of an agrarian ecovillage. It’s as though we’re mirroring the Earth’s eliptical orbit around the Sun. Sometimes we’re so close! Other times seemingly so very far away from realizing a viable way to build a village; sustain a farm; grow a connected community of humans; engage with the land in a life-giving way. Well, we’ve bitten off a hefty piece of culture-shifting pie and worked for many years on multiple fronts. We are in the middle of…something compelling…and it remains to be seen what’s next; what’s possible; what an outworking that attracts sufficient people/energy/money to manifest might look like. How long it might take, and at what cost?
So we persist because this is worth doing and because it feeds us on so many levels, even if we don’t know…can’t predict…what’s going to happen in the end; what an outcome might be that is within our grasp, our lifetimes, our ability to be patient and tolerant; to be in a place of uncertainty among all the other uncertainties of life.
The honeybee speeds to the flower because she wants nectar and pollen to raise new bees and to put aside honey to ensure the survival of the hive. Does she know that in so doing, she makes it possible for the flower to fruit, and then to seed, and then to grow again? That the results of her efforts go far beyond anything she could possibly realize in one hungry moment? May it be so for Common Ground Ecovillage. But may our endeavors bear fruit that we may see and taste before too long and that we pass along as a legacy to future generations who will transform this creation beyond what we might imagine or dream is possible right now.
In the meantime…it’s SUMMER! Come to an event. Get to know another member and enrich each other’s lives. Join a Circle. Learn a useful skill. Make a contribution. Make a donation. This is all possible RIGHT NOW. It’s all laid out in the Almanac.
June marks the transition from Spring to Summer. The Sun, the source and substance of life itself, is high overhead, beckoning us to expand, to engage with life’s abundance, and above all, to keep going. The Sun never goes backwards in the sky. She burns just as fully and fiercely every single day with no thought of return, freely flinging her fiery substance into the vast darkness and magnetizing heavenly bodies eons away to join in her stellar dance.
At Common Ground, we continue to blaze trails in our quest to fully establish an agrarian ecovillage. In this Almanac, you’ll find ways to deepen your relationships with each other and the land while marveling at all that is going on here. The Farm is expanding, providing fresh and nourishing food to a growing customer base.* We’ve fully pivoted to a new strategy (CGEV 2.0) to create a residential village. New frontiers in land management are emerging as we explore conservation opportunities for our woods and waterways.
It’s a very dynamic time, full of possibilities. But they won’t happen without dedicated members who are committed to doing the work—inner and outer and in-between—with fierceness and compassion, imagination and practicality, love and expectation that we can birth a more beautiful world together.
We beings are solar powered and we’re made to shine, burning brightly so that our destiny may find and form around us, just as the planets circle the Sun.
We’re halfway to the Summer Solstice and everything, everywhere is exploding with fertility, new growth, and sparkling aliveness in North Carolina. We have gotten through the eye of Spring’s needle. The specter of withering night-time freezes has faded. The trees have leafed out, grasses are climbing high, and sunlight and rain are catalyzing Summer’s chemistry of abundant invention.
And invent we are, at Common Ground. A new direction is arising as a prior one fades, channeling similar forces of vision and cooperation, land-based living and sustainability. Curious? Read what we know so far in the Almanac. And if this abiding commitment to growing an agrarian ecovillage resonates with you, take in the many ways to engage. Better yet, step forward and join the dance.
The energy and astounding fertility of May offers an invitation to slip onto the flowing stream and trust that the intelligence of life itself will carry us to create, nourish, and hatch the dreams that have materialized out of the Mystery and fallen into our hands to actualize.
Spring is a season of emergence and unfolding. That which has been hidden behind winter’s grey cloak is flashing out in bright hues and pulsing song; strong winds and soaring flight. All around us the natural world is awakening, stretching, tumbling, and bursting out of its winter bonds. We humans, no less that the trees, birds, and frogs, can’t help but respond to the pull of Spring’s sun as it rises higher in the sky, bringing more light and energy to all that lives, breaths, and grows.
At Common Ground Ecovillage, we’re coming out of a period of pausing and we expect to be making some decisions in the next few weeks; possibly even shifting course depending upon what we learn from contractors and funding agencies. The land and the vision continue to strongly beckon and our members are staying connected, cultivating gardens of plants and purpose in concert with one another.
It’s important to hear the voices of our members as we work through what’s ahead. In this Almanac, you will find much to do, enjoy, and contribute to what matters most. We hope you’ll feel the magnetic pull of this Ecovillage vision and come join in the dance of creative emergence. May we all be richly nourished by the depth of our dreams as they rise into our lives as sweet sap this Spring.
Can you sense it? It’s mid-Winter and all is not what it seems to be. Beneath the soggy leaf litter, within the tight buds, and above the bare-branched trees, the natural world is aquiver. Sensing the weather, feeling the sunlight, drinking the rain, and waiting until the conditions are right to awaken and emerge into a fresh incarnation. Already there are signs of change. Red maple buds are swelling, hawks are flying in pairs, and garden seeds are being sown in readiness for Spring.
But it is not here yet. This season calls for patience. For full appreciation of what is, though it is not what we could wish. For waiting attentively without complaint until forces align to support action. For listening deeply to the pulse of life, dancing in concert with wants to happen next.
At Common Ground, this is a time to turn towards each other and birth within our relationships the world as we wish it to be. This Almanac is bursting with possibilities for such joyous engagement and purposeful work. Let’s challenge ourselves and each other to shift out of our winter modes and emerge into the circle of community that is growing here. The time is always right for this.
January takes its name from Janus, the Roman god of endings, beginnings, transitions, and passageways. It’s a time to take stock of where we’ve been and open gateways to future possibilities. This hefty Almanac offers a rich tapestry of reflections on 2022 describing our achievements, the challenges we face, the ways we’ve learned and grown, how we’re connected in a myriad of ways, and what it all means to us.
There’s a special feature this month: some members have shared personal stories about their experiences with Common Ground Ecovillage. Farmer Doug Jones even wrote an inspired poem about what community means to him. Peppered with pictures, these pages can be found below the newsletter portion. We hope they will warm your heart.
As we open into a new year and face an unknown future, it’s vital to celebrate who we’ve become and remember why we are so committed to each other and to this ecovillage vision. You are invited to curl up with a yummy beverage and drink it all in.
This Almanac is like none other. You’ll read that our lovingly and diligently laid plans to build a village are being called into question, and we find ourselves in a place of not knowing the way forward at this moment. With the coming darkness and cold of Winter, we are being called into a new cycle of reflection and discernment and none of us knows exactly where it will lead. So, we’re scaling back our activities at the moment to focus on that which will nourish our relationships with each other and the land; relationships which we trust will support, sustain, inspire, and guide us forward.
For now, it’s okay to not know what to do or how to respond to the situation we find ourselves in. What we can do is take time to deeply listen to our inner voices, to each other, and to the whispers of wisdom in the wind that may be seeking to catch our attention.
As is the case in the natural world, much is happening underground that will undergird fresh action plans once they are woven from the threads of our deepest and most pure intentions. In the meantime, we’ll keep on doing what can be done, as it’s revealed, one step at a time. You are welcome to join in as you are so inspired.