Radical Joy for Hard Times doesn’t claim that we can heal wounded places; that’s way beyond our capability as humans. We can, however, heal the relationship between our places and ourselves.
Yet every now and then something makes us wonder: is it possible that attention, love, and an act of beauty really can make a difference to a hurt place? Our very first issue of Radical Joy Revealed, back in February 2014, featured a story that seemed to indicate that yes, maybe it can.
Today we offer another wonderful story. This story is from author and writing coach Jennifer Wilhoit. Jenn’s been honoring hurt and threatened trees at every Global Earth Exchange but one since 2010.
Something amazing happened a few hours ago. I was hiking down the same trail I usually hike up into the forest for my daily dose of soul-nourishment. The different direction alerted me to my Global Earth Exchange site from last year, the edge of the forest that was damaged by a blown, fire-caught transformer.
What do you imagine I found right in the center of my spot? A trillium! A beautiful trillium. Just one. In the exact center, where our pretty little RadJoy Bird lay. I have never seen trillium in that spot before. As I exclaimed aloud (to myself, as no one else was around) and peered closer, I saw a little spider on the underside of one of the petals. Then, as I was reviewing my photos a little while ago, I saw that one of the petals had been partially eaten (by the spider?).
This just feels like a full circle experience: damage to the Earth in that spot, our creation of beauty and blessings for restoration, a trillium who sprouts up in precisely that same blessed spot, a little spider who enjoys (and maybe partly damages?) the blossom, me coming along to capture the beauty and appreciate the convergence of new and consumed life…cycles. On and on.

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

Image Credit:

  • Wilhoit Earth Exchange 2020: Jennifer Wilhoit


  • 7299358 Orig

Songs in the Traveling Monastery

For the past month Radical Joy Revealed has featured some of the many wonderful stories from this year's Global Earth Exchange. Yet a pilgrimage to a hurt place, planned and shared, is not the only [...]

  • Case 1

What’s in the Dirt?

There are so many things I love about this story: (1) It's about dirt, Georgia red clay, specifically, and it's both a discovery and a kind of love story, (2) It was written by someone [...]

  • Sartor

Goobye to Our Houses, Lost in Fire

For one month after this year's Global Earth Exchange on June 12, each Radical Joy Revealed will feature one of the wonderful stories of how a few people in our global community found and made [...]

More Revealed



Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.