What Counts / Dirt Medicine

What Counts

Some days
life crumples you
folds you
in on yourself
pulls you
inside out
leaves you raw

Some days
the puddles
seep through
your boots
the coffee burns
the bad news
comes in torrents

Some days
you are foggy
with grief
dazed and confused
thoroughly fallible

On such days
there is only
one question:
How many ways
can you
sing your praises?

And if
you can
stay with
that question,
follow it with
how many ways
can you
count to ten?
And how many ways
can you count on community
to pull (you) through?
How many ways
can you count
your blessings?

Blessing by Brona Wingell

Dirt Medicine

We, the fossil fuel-addicted,
gather:

AA circles of the present
include true confessions of grief
for lost land and
wayward soil,
disconnection from earth
and mourning
the changing ecology
cars, cars, cars,
and where did all
those trees go?

Sunshine resting
on the backs
of armchairs
encircling such
sadness shared

Let them eat
the future
Wendell Berry writes

But with
no memory of community
among the 20-somethings,
is the future here
now?

Moving
into guilt
limits
language
reclamation, revolution
and my mind
hearing the offered answer
less, less, less,
shouts back
more, more more!
of the pluriverse
diversity
multiplicity
complexity

I am
holding tenderly
my friends
the milpa farmers
the mud-bathed paddy planters
the sukuma wiki sorceresses
in shanty towns and slums
and high rises and huts
in countrysides and downtowns,
heart steadfastly beating
in solidarity with
peasants, taxi drivers,
CEOs, agrarian royalty,
indigenous, immigrant,
settled, unsettled, resettling,
creatures, lives, people
worlds away,
across the street,
underfoot.

If I were
to relinquish,
focusing even less
on the practice
and letting go of the theory,
the world would
continue
to breathe me,
at least until that time
my body passes
back through the land—
the phase of rest and change
these molecules know best.

Until then, the land
continues passing through
my body, while I:

monitor the stripmining
of its sources of nourishment,
knowing intimately the effects of
bread more obscene
than our movies

learn the call
and answer
slogans of the struggle
for liberty, community,
land and life

sit in circles
with new friends
reveal myself in earnest
hope and
loving curiosity
somehow still believing
—a magical secret
scorching through my pocket—
that the answers
are not
as valuable
as the questions

walk in mindfulness and quiet
contemplation
swelling full to
teary-eyed brimfuls
with the scent of pine
cooked by sun

fall to my knees
catching the sight
over my own shoulder
of dried wind-dancing
flower spines embroidering
the rolling field

let myself be
fully embraced
in the lap
mother earth provides

drink in
late April brilliance
of awakening life—
squabbling crows in counterpoint
to windchime birdsong—
supported by rich
dark soils, sharp
green cedar sparkling
on my tongue,
sky so blue
it cracks the
winter exoskeleton
clean off,
welcoming me back,
here,
home, home, home.

Hannah Renglich

About Hannah Renglich

Hannah Renglich is passionate about all things community: community ownership, community governance, community health, community leadership, community sovereignty, and community sufficiency (a term she thinks she may have coined). Her work strives to weave together the threads of equity and solidarity with joy, kindness, and love. With a strong belief in the power of language, Hannah's extensive journalism and communications experience is complementary to and supportive of the movement-building, community-catalyzing, and systems design work she loves to co-create. Hannah's writing has appeared in an array of publications, including Briarpatch Magazine, Rabble.ca, Co-op Grocer Magazine, and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development. This spring, she has embarked on an ambitious journey to exercise creative discipline by writing a poem each day as part of a Community Supported Poetry Project. Hannah currently works with the 4Rs Youth Movement and calls Tkaronto home.

About Brona Wingell

Brona Wingell was born in Bratislava, Slovakia, and now lives in Toronto. Her interest in visual arts stems from meeting and painting with Canadian woodland artist Ritchie Sinclair. Since 2013, Brona has created an extensive array of paintings and drawings, including painting large-scale collaborative murals with Sinclair. Brona’s art has been deeply influenced by the sacred symbolism inherent in Canadian Woodland art, and with the form’s prominent colours and black outline. As a former professional dancer and dance teacher, Brona’s paintings are intricately choreographed with fluent form and razor-sharp lines. From nature, she derives personal inspiration and a sense of the interconnection between all life forms. Simply put, her paintings celebrate love. See more of Brona's work on her website.

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