Finding Beauty in a Broken World
Terry Tempest Williams
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"Shards of glass can cut and wound or magnify a vision," Terry Tempest Williams tells us. "Mosaic celebrates brokenness and the beauty of being brought together." Ranging from Ravenna, Italy, where she learns the ancient art of mosaic, to the American Southwest, where she observes prairie dogs on the brink of extinction, to a small village in Rwanda where she joins genocide survivors to build a memorial from the rubble of war, Williams searches for meaning and community in an era of physical and spiritual fragmentation.
In her compassionate meditation on how nature and humans both collide and connect, Williams affirms a reverence for all life, and constructs a narrative of hopeful acts, taking that which is broken and creating something whole.
time and place that the tide will turn (I wonder if this will be the case to me!) One can always uncover opportunities by applying persistence to possibilities. Not only Terry and Nancy have shown the possibility but you have also contributed. Emily, what tolerance will you show above? I know you can judge me anyhow you like but please this is the right time to help. Emily, I have told you that my family is the only thing that ties me to Rwanda and it truly is. I have applied three times hoping
“Time passes and I become very apprehensive of the timing problem. I finally issue an ultimatum to Questar Gas that at the end of sixty days, I will withdraw my bid if we cannot proceed soon. Because The Tempest Company is the low bidder, it’s to their advantage to solve the situation. An emergency meeting is called and the BLM sends an emissary to Salt Lake to issue us the permit we need to begin the job. Now added to the normal risk of pipelining in high mountain country, we have lost two
passed. Eleven hours to go. Question: How am I going to do this for two weeks? Time moves sooooo slowly. The cowboys have returned to the corral with a string of mules. P Dog #31 has just made an appearance. P Dog #46 is also a new sighting for me. 10:45 A.M. P Dog #24 is making another hay run to Burrow 9J. I can hear John trying to start his car, but the motor won’t turn over. I watch some of the p dogs run into the horse corral. One of the cowboys complains.
written in 1953, after Stalin’s death, I hear it as a raised fist against oppression. The calling of strings is an outpouring of emotion. A lone clarinet. An oboe weeps in sorrow, echoed by a bassoon and then the voice of the flute. A melody emerges in the midst of mass tragedy. And the military cadence continues. The flute reminds me of the prairie dogs. Or perhaps it is the prairie dog’s voice that holds the place of the flutes. There is an ecological orchestration that is ongoing, a
conveyance of unity. When Albert Schweitzer speaks of a “reverence for life,” in these three words, he is acknowledging the profound mystery that exists on the planet and our ethical responsibility toward all beings. Einstein understood this, as well, when he wrote that the mysterious is “the source of all true art and science.” Why must the extreme stance of rationalism be the only stance of credibility? And what is the cost to our deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of life?