Terry Tempest Williams and the Refuge of Change

16 November 2016 Published in News & Events

FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake Advisory Board Member, Terry Tempest Williams, revisits Great Salt Lake.

It is hot. Alisha Anderson and I have just passed the Golden Spike National Historic Site on our way to the Spiral Jetty. Alisha is a former student of mine from the Environmental Humanities Graduate Program at the University of Utah. She is a woman in love with Great Salt Lake, 28 years old, the same age I was when I sought solace from this inland sea. We are on a pilgrimage on this Labor Day weekend to chart the changes of a capricious body of water.

 From the corner of my eye, a flash of wings: A burrowing owl has just landed on a barbed wire fence post. We stop. Its yellow eyes could burn grasses with its stare; we blink before it does. These small diurnal predators with their long spindly legs are ground-dwelling tricksters. Once inside their mounds, their calls register as rattlesnakes, mimicking the dry shaking of their tails: A warning, “Do not enter.” A second owl, hidden in the sage, flies out and meets the first on top of their mound. To me, these are the signature species of the Great Basin.

I am home.

Read more here.

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Why We Care

  • We live along the Great Salt Lake, one of the most extraordinary natural features in North America. I do not believe we, as a community, have honored its rarity. Our lack of intimacy toward this inland sea is not out of neglect, but of ignorance. We do not know the nature of this vast body of water that sparkles and sings. If we did, the shores of the Great Salt Lake would look different.

    Terry Tempest Williams, FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake Advisory Board

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