Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness
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"A passionately felt, deeply poetic book. It has philosophy. It has humor. It has its share of nerve-tingling adventures...set down in a lean, racing prose, in a close-knit style of power and beauty."
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOKREVIEW
Edward Abbey lived for three seasons in the desert at Moab, Utah, and what he discovered about the land before him, the world around him, and the heart that beat within, is a fascinating, sometimes raucous, always personal account of a place that has already disappeared, but is worth remembering and living through again and again.
possible answer I could have to that. “Have some more water,” I said. I had an answer all right but I was saving it for later. I knew that I was dealing with a madman. As I type these words, several years after the little episode of the gray jeep and the thirsty engineers, all that was foretold has come to pass. Arches National Monument has been developed. The Master Plan has been fulfilled. Where once a few adventurous people came on weekends to camp for a night or two and enjoy a taste of the
Splendor. Some of the native Utahns also made money, particularly the ones shrewd enough the moment the boom took off to hustle out into the boondocks and stake claims on everything in sight. A few of these claims were developed and some yielded a profitable tonnage of uranium ore; but most of the wealth was acquired not in mining but in the trading and selling of claims and shares in mining companies which never got beyond the paperwork. Speculation was the big thing; and the money poured in
tribal organization has created, and to pay the costs of a tribal police force complete with uniforms, guns, patrol cars and two-way radios. These unnecessary evils reflect the influence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the desire on the part of the more ambitious Navajos to imitate as closely as they can the pattern of the white man’s culture which surrounds them, a typical and understandable reaction. Despite such minor failures the Navajos as a tribe have made good use of what little
deal. Better to wait for nightfall when the cottonwoods and other plants along the streambed will release some of the water which they have absorbed during the day, perhaps enough to allow a potable trickle to rise to the surface of the sand. If the water still does not appear you may then wish to attempt to dig for it. Or you might do better by marching farther up the canyon. Sooner or later you should find a spring or at least a little seep on the canyon wall. On the other hand you could
for joy in the common life. Has joy any survival value in the operations of evolution? I suspect that it does; I suspect that the morose and fearful are doomed to quick extinction. Where there is no joy there can be no courage; and without courage all other virtues are useless. Therefore the frogs, the toads, keep on singing even though we know, if they don’t, that the sound of their uproar must surely be luring all the snakes and ringtail cats and kit foxes and coyotes and great horned owls