Beliefnet
Terry Tempest Williams, author of the heart-shattering memoir-cum-natural history "Refuge," is up there with Edward Abbey--one of America's finest environmental writers. She is also a fifth-generation Mormon. (Though one who has always pushed the envelope--at age ten she and a cousin were asked what principle of the Gospel they treasured most. Her cousin said "obedience"; Williams said "free agency.")

Here, Williams, a latter-day Dante, explores a Hieronymus Bosch painting, "El jardin de las delicias." A triptych showing heaven, hell, and the garden of earthly delights, the Bosch painting serves as a vehicle for Williams's explorations of family, love, spirituality, Mormonism, ecology. When she's not hanging out at the Prada, she wanders the streets of Valencia, talks to a Proctor and Gamble rep about the environment, and muses about her obsession with suffering and crosses.

A stranger she meets sizes Williams up as a spiritual pilgrim, and tells her to go home. And Williams does--gathered in the Brigham Young Cougar Stadium with 60,000 other Mormons celebrating the Pioneer Pilgrimage, she sings songs she knows by heart and "feel[s]s the pulse of my people.a pulse I will always be driven by."

Those who have read "Refuge" will have high expectations; they won't be disappointed.

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