In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, the Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by.
Here is an emotionally charged book that is chock full of moral issues, as well as intimate sharing of life, death, suffering, and beauty. Full of women's wisdom and the cycles of nature. This is one of those books that if you can make it through the initial reading you will want to re-read it to pick up the subtle details and think about it more fully.
I'm reading this book for my course in moral theory. Not a textbook at all, it is a personal journey through an especially difficult time of the author's life - both inner struggles and environmental issues to which she feels strongly connected. Our assignments are broken down into three sections of reading, but I could not put it down till I was finished.
So many quotable quotes. As I approach the inevitable deaths of my mother, my loved ones, and even myself, this one strikes me as something to think about -
"Suffering shows what we are attached to ... Dying doesn't cause suffering. Resistance to dying does."
The crisis of the Great Salt Lake, how nature adapts, and ways humans interfere reflect the personal crisis Terry Tempest Williams faces in her family and how the natural landscape of desert and marsh become her refuge in vulnerability and strength.
I will be looking for more books by T T Williams.
That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the herons,
owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One
event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry's
mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s.
As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation, Refuge transforms tragedy into
a document of renewal and spiritual grace, resulting in a work that has become a classic.
A couple of warnings - it's not so much about family as about the women in the family. I was frustrated waiting for the males' pov, but she explains her focus at the end so it's ok. Also she meticulously records the progression of the lake's levels, but frustratingly doesn't put dates with them. Maybe she was trying to be timeless or something, but with all the other attention to detail and science, I found it maddening to have to figure out the spaces of time between the events of each episode.
This is an in-depth treatment of the inter-relationships between the natural world and human influence.
The reader is left with a feeling of responsibility to look at the overall affect of any human changes in the landscape, city planning, flood control, hazardous waste site locations, containment of hazardous sobstances, and generally best use planning for areas. These decisions have lasting impact on those living in the area.