Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Scene Thirteen: Terry Tempest Williams

Eight East Wheelockers, myself included, are poised around Professor Susan Brison's living room in the White House, attent on Terry Tempest Williams.
"You said, sort of in passing, that you always tell your students not to apologize," I say in reference to last night's public lecture, "What do you think the role of the apology in our lives should be?"

There is a term at Dartmouth to describe those times that define your experience here. They are the things that you will remember long after the grade from your First-Year Seminar fades from memory. We call them "Dartmouth Moments." The answer that Terry Tempest Williams gave is one of those moments.
I will not even try to recapture the eloquence with which she spoke, but know that her words were life-changing. I don't use cliches lightly.
If you followed the link of Mrs. Williams' name above, then you know that she is on campus as one of Winter term's Montgomery Fellows and Professors. I had the pleasure of being required by my Writing 5 professor, Nancy Crumbine, to attend Mrs. Williams' lecture at Tuck earlier in the week. By its end, several streams of tears had left tracks on my cheeks, and I was not among the minority. For an hour (or more?) she suspended time with her finely spun stream of words. Through tales of triumph and tales of tribulation, she reminded us what it is to live. Then, with the quick precision of an expert seamstress, she cut us free.

Dartmouth is nothing without its people, and oh what people it has.

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