If we bemoan the loss of light as the day changes to night we miss the sunset. In her memoirs Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams relates the circumstances surrounding the 1982 rise in the Great Salt Lake as well as her mother’s death from cancer. Throughout the book Williams gets so caught up in preventing her mother’s death that she risks missing the sunset of her mother’s life. However the Sevier-Fremont’s adaptability to changes in nature inspires Terry Tempest Williams to re-evaluate her response to changes in her life.
The story of the Sevier-Fremont people’s evolution and existence in the Great Basin parallels Williams’ life in Utah during the 1980s. They Sevier-Fremont evolved from the Anasazi people, a Native American tribe indigenous to the Great Basin. The Anasazi had remained in the Great Basin despite the rise in the lake and later evolved into a new people. Following the recession of the lake’s waters, its boundaries flourished, as did the Sevier-Fremont because they relied heavily on the vegetation and animals of the Great Salt Lake. The Sevier-Fremont were a semi-nomadic people who occupied the basin from 650 AD to 1250 AD when they were forced out. The sudden replacement of their artifacts suggests that the Sevier-Fremont were not integrated into but forced out of the basin by Numic-speaking groups. (Masden) Williams also has to survive a rise in the lake as the 1982 rise in the lake is the beginning of a period of change for her—the rise in the lake threatens to destroy the bird refuge and her mother’s cancer returns. Diane Tempest, Williams’ mother, is the personification of her childhood and the Great Basin is the setting upon which her fondest childhood memories were enacted. ...
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... adapting. (267)” Williams had been fighting the uncontrollable Her mother’s death is no longer about her is no longer about preventing her mother’s passing or the loss of her childhood but the process of letting go.
What does Terry Tempest Williams’ inability to embrace the process rather than the product of her mother’s cancer say about our society today? Are we constantly fighting losing battles? We read our history of our lives as a tally of wins and losses, and not as the story of our process to weather change. Williams realizes the value of the process rather than the product. When the bird hits the window one day while she is taking care of her mother although “[she wants] to hold the bird, to bring it inside and save it. [She doesn’t] Instead, [she]…return[s] to [her] Mother.(210)” Refuge is the story of Terry Tempest Williams’ process to weather change.
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- Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge If we bemoan the loss of light as the day changes to night we miss the sunset. In her memoirs Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams relates the circumstances surrounding the 1982 rise in the Great Salt Lake as well as her mother’s death from cancer. Throughout the book Williams gets so caught up in preventing her mother’s death that she risks missing the sunset of her mother’s life. However the Sevier-Fremont’s adaptability to changes in nature inspires Terry Tempest Williams to re-evaluate her response to changes in her life.... [tags: Terry Williams Refuge Essays]
1175 words (3.4 pages)
- Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge Adaptation is the source and story of a species’ survival. Human beings’ journey across and habitation of the earth’s surfaces demanded resilience to change. As a result each race is a product of the land in which they inhabited. We have grown with the land. Our physical traits tie us to a particular region, a particular place, but what of our emotions. Are they another link to our homelands or do they orphan us, forcing us to seek refuge. Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge, is the story of her adaptation to change, her struggle to weather changes.... [tags: Terry Williams Refuge Essays]
1047 words (3 pages)
- Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge Everything known to man is held in some sort of balance. It is a delicate balance, one which swings rhythmically to the ebb and flow of this world. Many have studied it but it has proven too complex, too broad to understand everything that is at work. That is why it must be preserved. One such movement has recently begun which looks exclusively to preserve this balance, ecofeminism. Terry Tempest Williams is just that, an ecofeminist. In her memoir Refuge¸ Williams attempts to examine the ecological and social worlds that balance on this pendulum.... [tags: Terry Williams Refuge Memoir Essays]
1266 words (3.6 pages)
- Cancer and Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge “I cannot prove my mother, my grandmothers, along with my aunts developed cancer from nuclear fallout in Utah. But I can’t prove they didn’t.” Epilogue, Refuge In Terry Tempest Williams’s Refuge, death slowly claimed almost all of the women of her family. Death took Williams’ family members one by one just one or two years apart. In every case, the cause was cancer. Williams insisted in the epilogue that fall-out from the 1951-62 nuclear testing in Utah brought cancer to her family.... [tags: Cancer Research Refuge Williams Essays]
1781 words (5.1 pages)
- “My cancer is my Siberia” (93), Terry Tempest Williams’ mother concluded. In her memoir, Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams writes about her mother’s struggle with cancer. Williams’ mother comes to conclude that cancer is her Siberia after having read Tolstoy’s inspiring novel, God sees the truth, but Waits about an innocent man falsely accused of murder and sent to a prison in Siberia. I think of Siberia as bitter cold deserted tundra region. I imagine political prisoners and prison camps. Stalin’s oppressive regime lingers in my mind and a stench of death circulates the air.... [tags: Essays on Cancer]
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- Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams Refuge; An Unnatural History of Family and Place, by Terry Tempest Williams, is a thought-provoking, sentimental book that explores both the unnatural and the natural events that take place in her life. The deception and lies of the reports presented by the United States government, which lead to the fall out of atomic bomb testing in Utah in the 1950's and the rise of the Great Salt Lake and its effect on bird’s serve as the backdrop of this book.... [tags: Terry Tempest Williams Unnatural Essays]
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- Terry Tempest Williams Born to a Mormon family and raised in Utah, Terry Tempest Williams’ being is rooted in her religion and the wild of the desert. These two elements compound to shape her identity, although their co-existence does not always reside in harmony. In 1983, the Great Salt Lake began to swallow Williams’ beloved bird sanctuary. Simultaneously, her mother learns that she has cancer. This juncture in time signals a major turning point in the course of her life. While, unable to stop the steady rise in the lake, Williams is unable to keep her mother on this Earth.... [tags: Author Authors Terry Tempest Williams Papers]
1792 words (5.1 pages)
- Terry Tempest Williams and Mormonism In Mormon religion, formal blessings of healing are given by men through the Priesthood of God. Women have no outward authority. But within the secrecy of the sisterhood we have always bestowed benisons upon our families. Mother sits up. I lay my hands upon her head and in the privacy of women, we pray. (158) Terry Tempest Williams is fully aware that she is contradicting the church when she writes “women have no outward authority,” yet she still chooses to take part in a ritual of healing that can only be performed by the men.... [tags: Terry William Mormon Essays]
1430 words (4.1 pages)
- The Reason Behind the Flooding of Great Salt Lake In Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams blames a natural disaster—the overflowing of the Great Salt Lake in Utah--for the destruction of the place she loved most in the world, the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. What Williams attempts to explain, however, is that this disaster wasn’t really “natural” at all. Refuge is critiqued by some for being over-dramatized, and Terry Tempest Williams is often criticized for blaming the world and others for the loss of the bird refuge.... [tags: Terry Williams Refuge Essays]
1381 words (3.9 pages)
- Terry Tempest Williams is a naturalist, a feminist, a writer who brings such power into everything she touches. Herself driven passion with her positive outlook and drive for change has brought so much goodness into this world. She has overcome many obstacles, including her own struggle within herself, but has last realized that the fight with nature is the same fight we have with ourselves, and ultimately accepting the outcome; whatever that may be unnatural, or natural, is the secret to life. Terry is a Mormon who grew up in Utah, loving nature and striving to keep it natural.... [tags: Literary Analysis ]
1064 words (3 pages)