Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Daniel Spencer

Commitee Members

Heather Bruce, Phil Condon


balance, belonging, environment, essays, hope, place


University of Montana


These twenty essays are scraps and fractals of larger stories, windows on coming to understand the world and my place in it. Taken as a whole, the collection tells the story of a formation of open-eyed hope. Roughly, they run from 2001 to 2010, covering the same years as the terrorist attacks of 2001, the War on Terror’s beginnings and toll, Hurricane Katrina, and growing awareness of globalization and climate change. These are big topics, and the only way I can make sense of them, and my coming of age within and around them, is to tell the stories of the connections I found between world events and my own self. It’s not about me, but these are the only eyes and stories I have, the only way I know to point towards a different way. The essays are roughly chronological and do build on each other, but are not meant to fit tidily—the mosaic nature is part of the point. Partly, of course, these essays are my own efforts to grapple sense and meaning into the very bland and bleak way the world can often be. But, moreover, it is my hope that they will be read as posts and markers to guide a reader towards their own sense of belonging. It’s a manual, use it where and how you may.



© Copyright 2010 Bethany Mason Taylor