Terry Tempest Williams: Erosion: Essays of Undoing

21 October 2019

We, too, are vessels of salt water. Our tears when viewed under a microscope are crystallized salt mixed with water. When falling, tears are composed of proteins, enzymes, oils, and antibodies suspended in salt water. They both lubricate our eyes and protect them, in addition to shepherding our emotional releases that create chemicals to thwart pain and alleviate stress. Rose-Lynn Fisher, in her work The Topography of Tears, has researched the chemistry of tears. While photographing them under a microscope, she discovered that tears of sorrow and tears of joy have a completely different chemical composition, as well as a different molecular structure. “Like a drop of ocean water each tiny tear drop carries a microcosm of human experience,” she says.

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