At yesterday’s common meal the cook had a story to tell. He just moved into his home and when he went to start up his oven for the first time, flames came out of it. What I found fascinating about his story was the first thing he thought about was his duplex neighbor. Before he realized that simply turning off the oven would stop the fire, he worried that his kitchen fire might disturb her meditation. How cohousing is that? Usually we first think of getting our families out, or of our house burning down, but now the first thought is the neighbor. Luckily, no one was hurt, not even the green beans he wanted to bake. A neighbor baked up the veggies and we had a great meal.
After dinner we started a new tradition - the polar plunge to celebrate closing the pool for the cold months. It was our coldest night so far. I figure the pool was colder than cold, but a few adults and even two children jumped in. Then, quickly swam out.
Afterward, all of us enjoyed hot cocoa, a warm fire in the fire pit, and kid-friendly ghost stories. I stayed until the fire went down and my son came to join me. I love our new tradition. Maybe I'll jump in next year.
I’m one of the new blog writers as of this month (we just had a workshare party where we chose our jobs for the year). I’ve been involved with Emerson Commons since the minute I heard about it in December 2017. I called Peter, the developer, and signed up and started going to common meals and plenary meetings. So, unlike all the other moves I’ve made in my life - this one I knew all my neighbors ahead of time.
It is different to have a community around. I’ve lived in my house over the mountain for 13 years and I hadn’t realized how set I was in my ways: go home, make dinner, help the kids with homework, watch TV. I found a book in the common house and it said if you move into an intentional community you will learn a lot more about yourself. I laughed - it’s very true. The book is called Finding Community by Diana Leaf Christian (Patch Adams wrote the forward) and it is one of the best books I’ve read on the topic.
Living here now, I see neighbors out on the porch and want to be social, while balancing unpacking boxes and helping the kids with the new school’s homework, and, honestly, dinner has suffered. We haven’t gotten into a grove with that yet, but I hope to be using the stove instead of the microwave soon (Thank you Cohousing Gods for Common Meal!).
I enjoy not having to cook and sitting down with everyone at the Common Meal twice a week. I did cook one common meal so far, but I quickly realized that I am not a short order cook and can’t balance a ton of pots and stove at once. I think I’ll make a stew next time.
When I get home from work I find my son on the porch watching the preschool age kids run around. Sometimes he’ll join them and basks in their glory since they think a fourth grader is the coolest. Next my teenager comes home and walks the dog. He’s on the autism spectrum and some neighbors already asked what is the best way to get to know him. He loves it here - enjoys the smaller school with a private school feel and already feels comfortable talking to some of the neighbors - especially the ones with pets. He loves animals.