"The future will require heroes and heroines who are not just brave but joyful as well, not just productive but relentlessly creative, not just capable of organizing effective actions but of acting spontaneously to comfort, give compassion, act generously, make beauty, and share joy," writes Trebbe Johnson, author of The World Is A Waiting Love, 101 Ways to Make Guerilla Beauty and many articles that explore people's relationship with nature. She is the founder and director of the global community Radical Joy for Hard Times, devoted to finding and making beauty in wounded places.
We tend to think of non-human beings, whether trees, rocks, dogs or cats, as things that are outside and separate from us. But when we read the world spiritually, we discover that these forces want to lead us back to ourselves and generate connections with others and the wider world.
When we lived in New York City we used to bless old and rotted buildings which everyone else saw as eyesores and toxic places; we knew that they were once inhabited, and we did not want to exclude them from our awareness. Johnson wants us to empathize with all those whose homes or property are destroyed by fire, flooding, pollution, urban sprawl, or any other calamity. Those who suffer from the horrific consequences of a nuclear power plant leak, a chemical spill, or a coal mine collapse are even more anguished since there often is no solution to their homelessness and helplessness.
Throughout this compassionate and illuminating paperback, the author shines lights on the difference between staring and gazing, loving the ugly back to life, and wild gifts for broken places; she describes a beautiful vigil for a clear-cut forest. Those who love the beauty and the bounty of the natural world will be moved by Johnson's spiritual practices of grief, gratitude, witnessing, and community engagement.