Medium Short: Learning Nurve

Finding the willhow in real time as I trudge along the trail

B. Lorraine Smith
4 min readJan 20


I consider it a great honour to have “first tracks” (human tracks, that is) in fresh snow. This was the scene along the St. Lawrence a few hours ago. I’m not sure who that critter was. (Photo by me)

Welcome to the latest Medium Short, a weekly accountability practice highlighting what I am reading, writing, and doing along the unmarked trail towards #IndustrialHealing. By the way, all of my articles are freely available through this link.

I want to tell you about all the amazing things I accomplished this week and how everything is making perfect sense. But actually everything looks kind of kaleidoscopic and hard to figure out. Don’t get me wrong: I love kaleidoscopes. But they are decidedly suboptimal organizing tools, and they are hilariously ill-suited to wayfinding.

Kaleidescopic or not, here’s what went down (and up and sidewise and fractal-swirly) in the week that was as I sought the nerve to climb the learning curve — aka, the nurve — of industrial healing.

Reading: On cows

Luckily for me, when everything else makes no sense there are great writers who have organized their thinking and taken the trouble to get it properly published into books (no small thing — more on my relationship with book not-publishing some other time). One such worthy writer is Judith Schwartz whom you may recognize as an interviewee from the Danone Matereality assessment, although hopefully you already recognized her from her wonderful books.

As I research JBS (recalling: they are the largest meat company in the world) I am reading Judith’s myth-busting gem, Cows Save the Planet.

One of the most compelling lines so far:

The amount of methane cattle generate has a lot to do with how livestock is managed. […] These are human decisions, not the cows’. (pg 27)

Part of the kaleidoscopery of it all is the collision of scientifically supported context about the actual shit of bulls, versus bullshit, if you follow. That will be my puzzle to solve in JBS Matereality land (more on that below). Anyway, it’s great reading.

Writing: Tree planting might get decolonized?

I didn’t publish anything this week. That’s the first time this has happened since July of last year (which is when I first started publishing…



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B. Lorraine Smith

Recovering ESG "expert"; yarn spinner; distance runner; magical realist. Sensing a path to an economy serving life. also at