An Excerpt from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert by Terry Tempest Williams

Terry Tempest Williams celebrates the canyon wilderness in Utah in her collection of essays. Here is a stirring passage on the spiritual practice of reverence.

"I choose to err on the side of preservation, and stand shoulder to shoulder with brother and sisters in our shared desire to protect the last, large expanse of wilderness we have left.

"Once strengthened by our association with the wild, we can return to family and community. Each of us belongs to a particular landscape, one that informs who we are, a place that carries our history, our dreams, holds us to a moral line of behavior that transcends thought. And in each of these places, home work is required, a participation in public life to make certain all is not destroyed under the banner of progress, expediency, or ignorance. We cannot do it alone. This is the hope of a bedrock democracy, standing our ground in the places we love, together.

"Red is a gesture and bow to my homeland.

"I want to write my way from the margins to the center. I want to speak the language of the grasses, rooted yet soft and supple in the presence of wind before a storm. I want to write in the form of migrating geese like an arrow pointing south toward a direction of safety. I want to keep my words wild so that even if the land and everything we hold dear is destroyed by shortsightedness and greed, there is a record of beauty and passionate participation by those who saw what was coming.

"Listen. Below us. Above us. Inside us. Come. This is all there is."