Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I read the memoir, Refuge, by Terry Tempest Williams, long ago, when my wife bought it and read it. That was not long after my wife had been treated for cancer. My wife read it and promptly added it to a small bookstand on her nightstand next to her bed. It's where I think she adds favorites she wants nearby to inspire her dreams. It's still there to this day.

Refuge excels in interweaving several different narratives: that of a dying mother, the influences of natural phenomenon on life and death, the beauty and ugliness of the world, the wantonness and the care and concern of mankind and its institutions, the nuances of religion for good and for bad. It's a book I should revisit, because its subtle shouting voice and its terrible tender stories are ones that seem kindred to me. It somehow captures not only the serene beauty of the bleak desert and the dead sea of the Great Basin where I often live, but also similar places found inside culture and people whereever you are. There is an ebb and flow, not unlike the lap of waves on silent shores.

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