Terry Tempest Williams Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 64 quotes)
The story of the Utah prairie dog is the story of the range of our compassion. If we can extend our idea of community to include the lowliest of creatures, call them 'the untouchables', then we will indeed be closer to a path of peace and tolerance. if we cannot accommodate 'the other', the shadow we will see on our own home ground will be the forecast of our own species' extended winter of the soul.
It just may be that the most radical act we can commit is to stay home. What does that mean to finally commit to a place, to a people, to a community? It doesn't mean it's easy, but it does mean you can live with patience, because you're not going to go away. It also means commitment to bear witness, and engaging in 'casserole diplomacy' by sharing food among neighbors, by playing with the children and mending feuds and caring for the sick. These kinds of commitment are real. They are tangible. They are not esoteric or idealistic, but rooted in the bedrock existence of where we choose to maintain our lives. That way we begin to know the predictability of a place. We anticipate a species long before we see them. We can chart the changes, because we have a memory of cycles and seasons; we gain a capacity for both pleasure and pain, and we find the strength within ourselves and each other to hold these lines. That's my definition of family. And that's my definition of love.
The middle path makes me wary. . . . But in the middle of my life, I am coming to see the middle path as a walk with wisdom where conversations of complexity can be found, that the middle path is the path of movement. . . . In the right and left worlds, the stories are largely set. . . . We become missionaries for a position . . . practitioners of the missionary position. Variety is lost. Diversity is lost. Creativity is lost in our inability to make love with the world.
Storytelling awakens us to that which is real. Honest. . . . it transcends the individual. . . . Those things that are most personal are most general, and are, in turn, most trusted. Stories bind. . . . They are basic to who we are. A story composite personality which grows out of its community. It maintains a stability within that community, providing common knowledge as to how things are, how things should be -- knowledge based on experience. These stories become the conscience of the group. They belong to everyone.
Flocks of magpies have descended on our yard. I cannot sleep for all their raucous behavior. Perched on weathered fences, their green-black tales, long as rulers, wave up and down, reprimanding me for all I have not done. I have done nothing for weeks. I have no work. I don't want to see anyone much less talk. All I want to do is sleep. Monday, I hit rock-bottom, different from bedrock, which is solid, expansive, full of light and originality. Rock-bottom is the bottom of the rock, the underbelly that rarely gets turned over; but when it does, I am the spider that scurries from daylight to find another place to hide. Today I feel stronger, learning to live with the natural cycles of a day and to not expect so much from myself. As women, we hold the moon in our bellies. It is too much to ask to operate on full-moon energy three hundred and sixty-five days a year. I am in a crescent phase. And the energy we expend emotionally belongs to the hidden side of the moon....