Category Archives: Essay

Erosion: Terry Tempest Williams

Erosion

By Terry Tempest Williams
November 9, 2016

It is morning. I am mourning.

And the river is before me.

I am a writer without words who is struggling to find them.

I am holding the balm of beauty, this river, this desert, so vulnerable, all of us.

I am trying to shape my despair into some form of action, but for now, I am standing on the cold edge of grief.

We are staring at a belligerent rejection of change by our fellow Americans who believe they have voted for change.

The seismic shock of a new political landscape is settling.

For now, I do not feel like unity is what is called for.

Resistance is our courage.

Love will become us.

The land holds us still.

Let us pause and listen and gather our strength with grace and move forward like water in all its manifestation: flat water, white water, rapids and eddies, and flood this country with an integrity of purpose and patience and persistence capable of cracking stone.

I am a writer without words who continues to believe in the vitality of the struggle.

Let us hold each other close
and be kind.

Let us gather together and break bread.

Let us trust that what is required of us next will become clear in time.

What has been hidden is now exposed.

This river, this mourning, this moment — may we be brave enough to feel it deeply.


Read Terry’s conversation with Whitefish Review editors in 2008, The Art & Act of Listening.

Terry Tempest Williams has been called “a citizen writer,” a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life.  A naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice.

Author Terry Tempest Williams (Photo by Ted C. Brummond)
Author Terry Tempest Williams (Photo by Ted C. Brummond)

Williams is the Provostial Scholar at Dartmouth College and her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Orion Magazine, and numerous anthologies worldwide as a crucial voice for ecological consciousness and social change.

Known for her impassioned and lyrical prose, Williams is the author of the environmental literature classic, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field; Desert Quartet; Leap; Red: Patience and Passion in the Desert; and The Open Space of Democracy. Her book Finding Beauty in a Broken World, was published in 2008 by Pantheon Books. She is a columnist for the magazine The Progressive. Her new book is The Story of My Heart by Richard Jeffries, as rediscovered by Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams (Torrey House Press), in which she and Brooke Williams expand upon the 1883 book by Richard Jeffries. Her most recent book is The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The book was published in June, 2016, to coincide with and honor the centennial of the National Park Service.

In 2015, she and her husband, Brooke Williams, purchased BLM oil and gas leases in Utah as conservation buyers.