“Do the small things stop you in your tracks?” asks Jess Kovach of Apopka, Florida. She recounts the following story: 
I am noticing as I slow down during this pandemic that small things are moving me greatly. This morning I was walking through my yard in a hurry and was stopped when I almost stepped on a small tail from a Southern Flying Squirrel. I have always wanted to see one flying from tree to tree at night and just haven’t yet. This tiny tail moved me to tears. I thought of the loss of this tail, the tiny animal’s communication with others, helping it balance as it flies from one tree to another.
I held this tail in my hand, and it was so soft, delicate, so flexible and yet fragile. The little tail moved me to create an act of beauty. I circled it with the brightest colored flowers from the garden and placed the tail at the base of a tree I am sure this flying squirrel knew well. It felt good to cry and to honor this little tail today.
The next morning Jess got a surprise:
IMG 0334
I walked out this morning and the tail was gone! This work of attending wounds and creating acts of beauty is really powerful. Maybe the tail was a meal or bedding for a newly built nest…so many thoughts come through.
Like Polly Howells’s story of the beheaded turkey that we featured in Radical Joy Revealed two weeks ago, this tale reminds us that, when we make an act of beauty for a wounded place or being, we are only the first artists. Rain, wind, animals, waves, even traffic and other people will come along and redesign what we have done. That is entirely as it should be. It

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:

  • IMG 0208: Jess Kovach


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