How We Gather
How We Gather
There are two weekly dinners; Mondays and Wednesdays. Mondays include some people from the neighboring community. Wednesdays are for residents only, though occasionally we make exceptions. These dinners provide an important forum for us to connect with each other. Oftentimes people linger after dinner to play games, play music, or just have conversations.
Cooking teams are often couples, but a single person can be a cooking team or a team can have up to three adults. More adults can be included, but then the team will have to cook twice as often. Teams cook roughly once every 4-6 weeks. When it is your team’s turn to cook, you prepare a meal with enough food for everyone.
We start each meal with a circle with announcements, then a description of what is for dinner, then a song or poem or dance, or moment of silence or whatever ritual someone wants to suggest. Then we wash hands and eat. When dinner is done everyone is asked to help with cleanup, even the kids.
Retreats & Work Parties
We currently have both a spring and fall community retreat. The retreats start Friday afternoon/evening and end sometime Sunday. We all seem to have pretty busy lives, so this is a chance to take a bit of time off to spend with each other as a group. Lately, we have scheduled the spring retreat to be at Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island. It’s a chance to play music, games, go on walks, fly kites with the kids, and oftentimes we have a visioning meeting of some kind. The fall retreat has recently been more of a “staycation” where we still get together for meals, games, walks, etc. We also have periodic work parties to put energy into the community’s physical resources.
Four Wednesdays per month, we gather after dinner for different meetings. The first Wednesday of the month the women gather for communion and support. The second Wednesday of the month we gather collectively for our visioning and business meeting, lovingly called “Viz Biz”. This is where we make decisions about the day-to-day function of our community as well as explore bigger picture visions for who we are and where were heading. The third Wednesday of the month the men gather for their support group. We value gendered spaces and find it important for men and women to have the opportunity to gather separately. We also understand that not everyone fits easily or clearly into one definition. Community members are free to choose the space that feels the most comfortable to them.
The fourth Wednesday is what we call community support. At this fourth meeting we gather for conversations to deepen our connections as well as support any member or members who may request it.
Our garden has been one of the most joyous places for gathering and connection. On any given day during the season, you might find a person working in solitude, two or three people working side-by-side and sharing conversation while they work, or a large work party may converge to support a heavy-lifting or big scale project.
Celebrations big and small happen all year round. Birthdays are always marked with a traditional song that involves skipping. Many years we have hosted a summer party that includes the larger community of the town. Holiday traditions from different backgrounds are honored and celebrated.
Just as we celebrate the beginning of life and the passing years of growing older, we also gather for celebrations of life for those who pass. Really any excuse to get together is sought and celebrated!
Music has always played a large role at Wise Acres. We are blessed by an abundance of extremely talented musicians who often gather informally to play music around the fire, during dinner, at the holidays, in the garden, on retreats, basically anywhere there’s an opportunity! Musicians of all levels and ages are warmly invited to participate.
Gatherings often happen in small moments, one-on-one or in small groups. Living in close proximity allows for the ability to “bump into” each other for sweet touchpoints. It might be stepping into the garden to find someone already working there. Walking between your home and the basketball court or the garden or on the way to the garbage dumpster you’re more than likely to bump into your neighbor for a quick hug or conversation. Often neighbors make spontaneous time to sit and have a cup of coffee or tea together just to chat or ask for support when needed.