A Season in the Wilderness
by Edward Abbey
This is one of those books that I devoured in a mere two days, wondering why in the world I\’d never opened it before. Desert Solitaire is a collection of writings Edward Abbey penned about time he spent as a park ranger in Arches National Monument, a spectacular desert near Moab, Utah. Sandstone cliffs, winding gullies and canyons, fantastic formations erosion has created out of rock. Spiny and sinister fauna and flora, amazing sunsets, brutal heat and chill nights…. but not all of his words are about the beauty and strangeness of the desert wilds. He writes about working as a park ranger, frustrations with tourists, searching for lost hikers, railing against litter and waste and development which (in his opinion) spoils the wilderness. He describes days spent gathering range cattle on horseback, exploring the beautiful Glen Canyon right before it was doomed to be drowned by a dam, visiting the depths of the Havasu (whose people I met once before in a book called People of the Blue Water), and an encounter with a runaway horse that had lived alone in the desert for ten years. He muses on the plight of the impoverished Navajo, the place of national parks in the nation\’s consciousness, and the importance of solitude and wide-open spaces for the health of one\’s soul. Abbey has lots of strong opinions, and delivers them in a frank, blustering fashion that is at the same time poetic and humorous. I was sometimes taken aback by his sentiment, and I know this is one of his tamer books, too. (I have yet to read The Monkey Wrench Gang but it\’s on my list now). Even though I don\’t agree with all of his radical opinions on how to keep wilderness pristine, I find his voice so fresh and invigorating, so unique and lively, that I can\’t wait to read more of his works.
Another book I read for the TBR Challenge
Rating: 4/5 269 pages, 1968