Radical Joy Revealed
February 20, 2019

Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places. We hope you'll enjoy these doorways into places that are both familiar and surprising, and we welcome your suggestions, stories, and photos. Click here to subscribe. 

Gina Galardi's childhood neighborhood in northeastern Pennsylvania, with the gift of gratitude she sent to it from Oregon. Photo by Trebbe Johnson
Those who practice RadJoy know the power going to a hurt place they love and giving it some attention and beauty. But what would it be like to give a gift of beauty to a place that's close to someone else's heart --- and 3,000 miles away?
Recently, Gina Galardi of Ashland, Oregon and Trebbe Johnson of Thompson, Pennsylvania did an experiment in shared giving, and both found it a very moving experience.
The two women met when Trebbe was in Ashland in October, giving a talk about her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth's Broken Places , at the home of Anne Stine. During the question-and-answer period, Gina spoke of her hometown in Ashley, Pennsylvania. Gina was touched by the idea of giving gifts to hurt places and said she wished she could give something to the neighborhood where she had grown up that had gotten rundown over the years. 
Gina's hometown is about 60 miles from where Trebbe lives. Spontaneously Trebbe offered to bring a gift from Gina to her old home on Gina's behalf.
Gina:  I have vivid memories of fields filled with monarch butterflies, trails and paths where we always found salamanders under logs and brush. We would pick fruit from trees around the neighborhood when we got hungry Those fields and trails are now developed with either housing or industrial parks. I looked forward to giving back to the land that gave me so much as a kid.
But what sort of gift would it be? Later, through email contact, Gina came up with the perfect solution. She had done a grade school project of gathering local leaves and identifying them. She decided to send Trebbe a page from that project with a word or two of appreciation for the place written on each leaf.
Trebbe: Winter weather delayed the trip for a while, but I recently made the journey to Gina's old street in Ashley, bringing a page from Gina's childhood project. Although, as she'd said, there was a lot of development nearby, her street was small and narrow with just a few houses, and it still had a neighborly feeling. As soon as I saw the WATCH CHILDREN sign, I knew that was where I'd leave Gina's gift. I tied the page of leaves to the pole with some of the handspun golden yarn RadJoy has been using all year as part of our People Binding the Earth project and added a few dried wildflowers growing near the pole. Then I stood back and told the neighborhood that this gift was from Gina and that she loved it and thanked it for all the gifts it had given her. One of the leaves had fallen off the page, and this I saved to send back to Gina, along with one of the dried flowers. I felt very connected to Gina, whom I'd only spoken with for a few seconds, and to this place she loves.
Gina: When Trebbe sent me the photo, I was amazed. That spot was a hub of activities for me and the other kids every day for most of my childhood. So many games played and gatherings occurred right there by that pole! I haven't been back home in many years, but I still feel the home within me that that area provided for me. And I am forever grateful to that land for all it offered and still feel that wonder and play alive in me from my experiences there.
Trebbe: As Gina and I discovered, giving a gift to a hurt place for somebody who can't be there personally can be a wonderful experience for both people.


52 Weeks of Guerrilla Beauty is presented once a week throughout 2019. As described in Trebbe Johnson's 2017 book,  101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty , guerrilla beauty  is  the practice of making bold, spontaneous, anonymous acts of art in places that are hurt or threatened. You can also find 52 WEEKS OF GUERRILLA BEAUTY on our Facebook page.

To discover other stories of inspiring people, stories, photos, and ideas, subscribe to
Trebbe Johnson's new book, 
 introduces a unique new way of living with meaning where we are, even as we work for a better future!

" Engaging and intense, this book demonstrates vividly how contemplative approaches to life are profoundly political. Deeply embedded in how we respond to mass extinction-which is the least euphemistic way of putting what is now happening in the biosphere-is a habitual conceptual severing of our necessarily symbiotic relationships with other lifeforms. This severing forms the very structure of how we have taught ourselves to enjoy "landscape," "scenery"... In showing us how to appreciate differently, Trebbe Johnson shows how to repair the severing, which traumatizes humans as much as it traumatizes nonhumans, step by contemplative step."

- Timothy Morton
Author of  Dark Ecology and  Ecology Without Nature



Starting with last year's Global Earth Exchange in June, our People Binding the Earth (with Love and Beauty) project invites you to enhance the gifts you make for wounded places by weaving them with our hand-spun and plant-dyed golden yarn. W
e'll send you some of our hand-spun, organically-dyed yarn free of change. You can carry it with you as you go about your day. Then, when you see a place that's fallen on hard times, you can use your yarn to make a simple gift of appreciation or sympathy.  Contact us  and we'll send your yarn, along with a postcard telling you about the woman who spun it and the sheep who donated it. 

(Photo above: Paula Kucera and some of the sheep from White Barn Farm, New Paltz, NY, whose wool gifts our golden yarn.) 

Radical Joy for Hard Times is a global community of people dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Reconnecting with these places, sharing our stories of loss, and making acts of beauty there, we transform the land, reconnect people and the places that nourish them, and empower ourselves to make a difference in the way we live on Earth. 
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Each week Radical Joy Revealed comes to you free of charge with inspiring stories and suggestions for living with endangered places in creative, life-affirming ways. It takes thought, imagination, and a sense of timing to uncover and write the stories, choose just the right images to accompany them, and prepare them for distribution, and we could use your financial help. Please show your support of Radical Joy Revealed by making a tax-deductible donation to our non-profit organization.

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