In these passages from the book "Refuge" by Terry Tempest Williams, we see, with unflinching clarity, that the same tenuous bonds that make up an ecosystem are present in the habitat we create for ourselves. In this poignant story, one woman learnsto celebrate thos invisible ties and through them nurture a sense of place and peace.
Terry Tempest Williams from the prologue of "Refuge"
"In the past seven years, Great Salt Lake has advanced and retreated. The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, devastated by the flood, now begins to heal. Volunteers are beginning to reconstruct the marshes just as I am trying to reconstruct my life. I sit on the floor of my study with journals all around me. I open them and feathers fall from their pages, sand cracks their spines, and sprigs of safe pressed between passages of pain heighten my sense of smell-- and I remember the country I come from and how it informs my life.
"Most of the women in my family are dead. Cancer. At thirty-four, I became the matriarch of my family. The losses I encountered at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge as Great Salt Lake was rising helped me to face the losses within my family. When most people had given up on the Refuge, saying the birds were gone, I was drawn further into its essence. In the same way that when someone is dying many retreat, I chose to stay."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In her acclaimed book "Refuge," Terry Tempest Williams chronicles the epic rise of Great Salt Lake alongside her mother's diagnosis with ovarian cancer. The San Francisco Chronicle called "Refuge," "utterly original... a testament to loss and earth's healing grace."
She is the author of several books including "Leap" which was listed by Bloomsbury Review and Amazon.com as one of the best books of 2000. Utne Reader called her "a person who could change your life." Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Outside, and Audubon. She lives in Grand County, Utah.