First off, the title captured my attention. Red. Red is my favorite color. It is passion, fire, blood, life, and the color of so much of the rock thatFirst off, the title captured my attention. Red. Red is my favorite color. It is passion, fire, blood, life, and the color of so much of the rock that makes up southern Utah. Secondly, the subject, the desert country of southern Utah, ultimately caused me to buy this book, since it is my favorite place.
The southern Utah I know is Canyonlands, Goblin Valley, Buckskin Gulch and Paria Canyon, Newspaper Rock, the canyon of the Escalante river, Monument Valley...
Southern Utah is a stark and beautiful place. It is a place in which more than any other I can think clearly without distraction. I believe it's because the land there is so uncluttered and is stripped to its essentials. It is rather like a piece of minimalist music that acts like a sieve on my thoughts, getting rid of the dross and leaving behind only what is most valuable.
There is just such a feeling of rightness and in-tuneness about the place that is difficult for me to describe. And thinking about it right now, i wonder why i haven't been back there in so many years. In fact, I wonder why I don't live there. I wonder how unhealthy, out of touch and unbalanced I've been to stay away from such sustenance for so long...
I really like most of the essays in Terry Tempest Williams book, but there is one I especially like - The Erotic Landscape. Some excerpts from this essay that particularly resonated with me are,
"I wonder what walls we have constructed to keep our erotic nature tamed. And I am curious why we continue to distance ourselves from natural sources. What are we afraid of?"
a quote within the essay by Audre Lorde: "The erotic has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, and plasticized sensation. For this reason we have turned away from exploration and consideration of the erotic as a source of power and information, confusing it with pornography. But pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling."
"The erotic world is silenced, reduced to a collection of objects we can curate and control, be it a vase, a woman, or wilderness. Our lives become a piece in the puzzle of pornography as we go through the motions of daily intercourse without any engagement of the soul."
From the essay, The Bowl:
"This is how she should be, she thought. She was free and frightened and beautiful."
From the essay, Ode to Slowness:
"Although we have left the city, it has taken my body months to slow down, to recover a rhythm in my heart that moves my body first and my mind second."
From the essay, A Prayer for a Wild Millennium:
"The shape of time and space is different in wilderness. Time is something encountered by the senses not imposed upon the mind. We walk, we sit, we eat, we sleep, we look, we smell, we touch, we hear, we taste our own feral nature. What we know in a wild place is largely translated through the body."
From the essay, Earth:
"The open expanse of sky makes me realize how necessary it is to live without words, to be satisfied without answers, to simply be in a world where there is no wind, no drama."
From the essay, Fire:
"It feels good to be in the desert again. Home - where I can pause, remain silent. There is nothing to explain."
From the Statement before the Senate Subcommittee on Forest and Lands Management regarding the Utah Public Lands Management Act of 1995, Washington D.C., July 13, 1995:
"Mr. Chairman, if you know wilderness in the way you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go. We are talking about the body of the beloved, not real estate."