Guernica: With theses new risks and forms of engagement, how would you describe this time in history?
Terry Tempest Williams: I think we will look back at this time in history as a time of great transition. I think about a particular bridge in the Penobscot area of Maine. When we would drive from Bucksport to Belfast, we had to cross this bridge. For years, we would cross this rickety, rusted green bridge, and every time we crossed it, we would hold our breath and think, “I hope we make it across.” You’d see these large cables that were holding the bridge up, splitting, sagging, and the car would start rocking. And then, whew! Thank god, you’d be on the other side. We’d all sigh with relief.
And then, some time down the line, we noticed a new bridge was being built. We were still driving on the old bridge, but I was mindful each time we crossed the old bridge, of the beauty and the design, and at times, the precariousness of this new bridge that was under construction. I kept thinking, “I hope we make it to the new bridge before the old bridge falls down.” And then, one miraculous day, the new bridge was built and we were driving across it. The old bridge was no longer in use.
I feel like that’s where we are now. I feel like we are building this new bridge. I hope we can finish it in time. There are these two parallel realities that we’re facing: the old consciousness and the new consciousness. What will bring us together? Disasters? Economic crisis? Our awareness?
Read the whole interview with Terry Tempest Williams at Guernica Magazine: Ground Truthing, interview by Devon Fredericksen (August 1, 2013)