Mar 29, 2012

"The Bowl"

"There was a woman who left the city, her family, her children, left everything behind to retrieve her soul. She came to the desert after seeing her gaunt face in the mirror, the pallor that comes when everything is going out and nothing is coming in. She had noticed for the first time the furrows under her eyes that had been eroded by tears. She did not know the woman in the mirror. She took off her apron, folded it neatly in the drawer, left a note for her family, and closed the door behind her. She knew that her life and the lives of those she loved depended on it.

The woman returned to the place of her childhood, where she last remembered her true nature. She returned to the intimacy of a small canyon that for years had loomed large in her imagination, and there she set up camp. The walls were as she had recalled them, tall and streaked from rim to floor. The rock appeared as draped fabric as she placed her hand flat against its face. The wall was cold; the sun had not yet reached the wash. She began wading the shallow stream that ran down the center of the canyon and chose not to be encumbered by anything. She shed her clothing, took out her hairpins, and squeezed the last lemon she had over her body. Running her hands over her breasts and throat and behind her neck, the woman shivered over her own bravery. This is how it should be, she thought. She was free and frightened and beautiful.

For days the woman wandered in and out of the slick-rock maze. She drank from springs and ate the purple fruit of prickly pears. Her needs were met simply. Because she could not see herself, she was unaware of the changes--how her skin became taut and tan, the way in which her hair relaxed and curled itself. She even seemed to walk differently as her toes spread and gripped the sand."

That's from Red by Terry Tempest Williams. If you've never read anything of hers, walk, saunter, traipse, jog, trot, run to a library or bookstore and please check her out. I LOVE HER WORK. Would you like to read the rest of "The Bowl"?

All hail Terry Tempest Williams!


  1. will see if Nancy can get that for our library.

  2. You will not regret it! She has a new one coming out this month, too.

  3. I just ordered "Red" from the library - is there another one you would recommend in particular?

  4. Elaine, Red has been my favorite so far, but Finding Beauty in a Broken World is quite good as well. Lots of interesting stuff about prairie dogs, which she manages to connect to spirituality.