Finding Hope And Beauty In The Dark Places with Terry Tempest Williams


Terry Tempest WilliamsTerry Tempest Williams has long been a beloved scribe for the timeless beauty of the world we live in, and the tribulations of the humans who too often fail to value it. In this deeply moving interview, she speaks out for some of most disavowed individuals on the planet: prairie dogs, who are threatened with extinction and Rwandan refugees. What could the two possibly have in common? She explains, “The plight of the prairie dog, the extermination of a species, and the extermination of a people are predicated on the same impulse: prejudice, cruelty, ignorance and arrogance, circling around issues of power and justice. Until we can begin to see the world whole, even holy, we are destined to this fractured, fragmented, disconnected world that literally creates the seabed of war.” Ms. Tempest Williams deftly draws meaning out of the darkest moments of fear and devastation with inspiring stories of rodents who pray at sunrise and sunset and a mother who, after losing her child to the ravages of war, creates a mosaic sunflower out of the rubble. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Terry Tempest Williams is a naturalist, environmentalist, and writer. She is a recipient of the Lannan Literary Fellowship in creative nonfiction, the 1997 Guggenheim Fellowship, and served as naturalist-in-residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History. She is currently the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah.

She is the author of:

To learn more about the work of Terry Tempest Williams go to

Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • Why it is important to see the world whole–as in “holy”
  • What prairie dogs have to teach us
  • Why a mosaic is like a community
  • How art can help to heal the ravages of war
  • Why it is so important for you to witness both beauty and sorrow

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Host: Michael Toms              Interview Date: 12/7/2008                     Program Number: 3294             

Music Playlist:

From Album: Miho: Journey to the Mountain
Artist: The Paul Winter Consort
2010 Living Music #LMU-42

Opening Essay: Track 01 Saxophone (Song of Miho)
Music Break 1: Track 11 Arto (Singing to the Mountain)
Music Break 2: Track 10 Saxophone Reprise
Music Break 3: Track 14 Elephant Dance