What is a wounded place? people sometimes ask, as they consider if and how to make beauty for such a place.
A wounded place is a place that, when you think of what’s happening to it, makes your heart ache.
The Global Earth Exchange invites you to go to a wounded place you care about and find and make beauty there. Global Earth Exchanges in 2020 included gifts for the Berlin Wall, a patch of New York land confiscated for gas fracking, a new home with toxic soil in South Africa, and the Ohio River in West Virginia.
Joanne Martin, a RadJoy member and environmental activist who lives in western Pennsylvania, decided to face more personal wounds this year, as she describes here.
This year I am acutely aware that what I was called to do was heal my relationships with the people I am judging to have wounded the land. This became an uncomfortable practice as I sat in my circle surrounded by the woods of my homestead and one by one brought to mind an “enemy” of the land—people I had come into contact with in my advocacy work. As the names grew in number, I decided to write them in my journal. Honestly, this may have been to distract myself from guilt for judging people so harshly.
My work focus this past year has been to derail the fossil fuel industry and replace economic development with a green economy. Soon the parade of “enemies” was replaced by the names of activists, friends, land stewards—all those embracing earth and justice issues as paramount.
My RadJoy Bird brings together all these people—with each name is a healing story, some sweet, some gritty. This circle of trees listening to my stories. My human judgments are easing as I listen to the leaves rustle—there is no judgment there. My heart softens.

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:

  • Martin 2020: Joanne Martin

MORE RADICAL JOY REVEALED

  • Quan Yin

Why Not Just Skip to the Joy?

Every now and then someone complains that Radical Joy for Hard Times focuses too much on grief. Nature is full of beauty and wonder, they say. Why do we have to talk so much about [...]

  • Barcelona

Concert for a Very Green Audience

After closing for several months because of the coronavirus, Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu finally reopened on June 22 with UceLi string quartet playing Puccini’s “Crisantemi”. The audience of 2,292 was very attentive. All were [...]

More Revealed

SUBSCRIBE

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

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