28 September 2008

"Refuge" - Terry Tempest Williams

This book inspires me more than most things I read. She (beautifully!) connects her mother's death due to cancer caused by the fallout of atomic bomb tests to the flooding of the Great Salt Lake that displaced all of the creatures from the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. In both cases, refuge seems lost, but is actually found. Her writing is, all at once, powerful and peaceful; advocacy and reflection; lovely and forceful. The first page and a half is so astonishingly beautiful and a great foreshadowing of what is to come in the pages ahead ::

"...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...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....
Perhaps, I am telling this story in an attempt to heal myself, to confront what I do not know, to create a path for myself with the idea that "memory is the only way home."
I have been in retreat. This story is my return."

More than any other author...I want to be able to write like her.
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