Change is always risky, and those of us who moved to Prairie Hill in the past year were trusting that we would like living here, even though we wouldn't know until we tried it. The truth is that in general we're finding our community life here more fun and fulfilling than we ever dreamed, despite the full schedule of committee work that seems to be a necessity at this stage of our development. The concept of cohousing is working well, with a healthy balance of privacy and community. And in the winter, when we're kept inside more by weather, it's comforting to have others just a few steps away.
Even so, we've felt from the beginning that we want to be closely connected to the wider community rather than becoming insular. To promote this interaction, we've been hosting events once a month that bring a variety of subjects and speakers to Prairie Hill. These events are open to the public, and we love the influx of visitors who come.
Usually we begin with a potluck in our common house dining room. That's a good way to have informal conversations.
Then comes the featured activity or talk. Over the years (even before we began living at Prairie Hill) we've focused on a wide pallet of subjects: edible landscaping, solar collectors, downsizing, getting a loan, raising worms, children's playgrounds, sustainable building design, and a host of other things.
Our most recent friends-of-cohousing evening featured the ecovillage of Findhorn in Scotland. Blair Frank, a frequent visitor to Findhorn, told us of his experiences there, and we were especially interested because many of their themes (community, sustainability, permaculture, attunement to the land) are ones we share. One of the things Blair told us is that during meetings at Findhorn, there is often a candle burning in the center of the group that helps them focus on the things they share, bringing them together. Blair and his wife Mary left us with a gift: a beautiful candle holder and candle made at Findhorn. And often we have been remembering to light the candle when we're having an important meeting.