Erosion: Essays of Undoing

Erosion: Essays of Undoing

by Terry Tempest Williams

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Overview

Fierce, timely, and unsettling essays from an important and beloved writer and conservationist

Terry Tempest Williams's fierce, spirited, and magnificent essays are a howl in the desert. She sizes up the continuing assaults on America's public lands and the erosion of our commitment to the open space of democracy. She asks: "How do we find the strength to not look away from all that is breaking our hearts?"

We know the elements of erosion: wind, water, and time. They have shaped the spectacular physical landscape of our nation. Here, Williams bravely and brilliantly explores the many forms of erosion we face: of democracy, science, compassion, and trust. She examines the dire cultural and environmental implications of the gutting of Bear Ears National Monument—sacred lands to Native Peoples of the American Southwest; of the undermining of the Endangered Species Act; of the relentless press by the fossil fuel industry that has led to a panorama in which "oil rigs light up the horizon." And she testifies that the climate crisis is not an abstraction, offering as evidence the drought outside her door and, at times, within herself.

These essays are Williams's call to action, blazing a way forward through difficult and dispiriting times. We will find new territory—emotional, geographical, communal. The erosion of desert lands exposes the truth of change. What has been weathered, worn, and whittled away is as powerful as what remains. Our undoing is also our becoming.

Erosion is a book for this moment, political and spiritual at once, written by one of our greatest naturalists, essayists, and defenders of the environment. She reminds us that beauty is its own form of resistance, and that water can crack stone.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374712297
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 10/08/2019
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 387,547
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Terry Tempest Williams is the award-winning author of The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks; Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; Finding Beauty in a Broken World; and When Women Were Birds, among other books. Her work is widely taught and anthologized around the world. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the Harvard Divinity School. She and her husband Brooke Williams divide their time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Castle Valley, Utah.


Terry Tempest Williams is the award-winning author of The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks; Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; Finding Beauty in a Broken World; and When Women Were Birds, among other books. Her work is widely taught and anthologized around the world. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the Harvard Divinity School and divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Castle Valley, Utah.

Table of Contents

Preface: The Turquoise Triangle ix

Map of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments xii

1

The Cutting Edge of Time: Erosion of Home 3

Ode to Sanity 22

The Questions Held By Owls 27

Paper, Rock, Scissors: The Wilderness Act 36

A Totemic Act: The Endangered Species Act 48

Dancing In Place 61

Bird Blind 68

A Galapagos Journal 72

The Tellurian 80

The Council of Pronghorn 85

2

What Love Looks Like: Erosion of Safety 103

Operation Save America 135

This Happened: Erosion of Logic 137

A Public Bench Made of White Bark Pine 139

The People's March 140

Keeping Our Fossil Fuel in the Ground 144

My Beautiful Undoing: Erosion of Self 148

The Lost Daughter of the Ocean 165

The Brink of Beauty 175

3

This Moment: Erosion of Democracy 181

A Tea Ceremony for Public Lands 183

Nahodishgish: A Place to be Left Alone 191

Will Bears Ears Become the Next Standing Rock? 195

The Park of the Future 199

Heart of the Matter: Erosion of Fear 202

Four Letters to My Father 215

4

Boom! Erosion of Belief 235

Bluebirds 239

A Deeper Vow 254

A Beautiful, Rugged Place: Erosion of the Body 261

Dwelling 288

The Resonance of Stone 309

Coda: The Liturgy of Home 319

Acknowledgments: The Kindness of Community 325

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