One of the first memoirs I read when trying to decide how to write my own story was written by another author from Utah; Terry Tempest Williams. It was a strange experience, reading her story. The locations and timelines of our tales were so very similar, but the relationship she shared (a loving and supportive one) with her mother was entirely foreign. So, too, was her deep connection with the birds.
Before delving into Refuge I had never known the names of any birds save the Parrot, Flamingo, and Robin. Reading her book reminded me of my bio-mother telling me about the myth of the robin’s redbreast being bestowed upon it by God after a robin tried to remove the thorns from Christ’s head. As a result of this wonderful story, I have endeavored to learn more about the creatures around me, care more for the Earth, and become a part of the world I live in.
Set against the backdrop of widespread flooding in the Salt Lake valley in the ’80s, Terry Tempest Williams tells of her love for wild birds and wild spaces in the valley and surrounding mountains. Her process of grieving the passing of her mother is also woven into the tale of flooding, mitigation, and how it all affects the birds. Though her story shares a time and place with mine, our stories are wildly different. I found it fascinating to read along as she navigated familiar terrain with such a divergent experience. Barely miles apart, she “midwifed” her mother’s passing as I strove to keep mine from suicide.
When I was in elementary school we were marched from our classrooms and gathered in a field one morning. The whole school was told to hold hands. We were forming a school-wide circle of hand-holding in association with the “Hands Across America” project. In 1986, it was a fundraising project to shed light on issues of hunger and homelessness in the U.S. by stretching a human chain across the continent. Many people ended up forming very large circles in towns or schoolyards, like we did, in solidarity with the event.
Today, I was moved by the joint effort of millions of women banding together in the hope of achieving a similar goal of shedding light on issues of equality for women. This attempt was far more successful than it’s predecessor. I raise a glass to the power of collaborative movement!
One of my favorite authors right now is Cathy Glass. It’s a pseudonym because she is an active (and amazing) foster carer. Many of her books are based on her experience caring for some very traumatized children. She also has a new crime-drama series under the name of Lisa Stone that’s super fun.
I find it cathartic and healing to hear her perspective on the lives of the young people she cares for. I also really appreciate her view of the foster care system. She is not in the U.S. and part of the appeal is that the system where she is, though flawed, really strives to maintain the best interest of the child as the key tenet of their work.
Homelessness has always been an issue. I lived in motels, sheds, and in other people’s living rooms or basements many times when I was young. I’m happy to have found this article discussing one approach to solving the issue. One of the solutions is a community-based comprehensive plan to create a net of services to prevent the homelessness cycle from beginning.