I was pleasantly surprised with this read, the title Desert solitaire did not inspire an appealing reaction at first. This was a tremendously enjoyable and relaxing read for me. Edward Abbey’s ability to encompass the mind, body, and soul of both Mother Nature and the human existence was inspiring. I was able to transplant myself in the Moab Desert in Southwest Utah with Abbey’s descriptive language. He found a way to create desert figures as a medium rather than as material objects. This read brought elements of spirituality into Mother Nature that Meadowlands seemed to ignore. “By taking off my shoes and digging my toes into the sand I made contact with the larger world-and exhilarating feeling which lead to equanimity”. (pg. 111). This quote shows the contention Abbey is able to make with mother nature, creating a bound in which a human soul is intertwined with the earth. Abbey utilizes many religious connotations in this work , yet Abbey says “I am not an atheist but an earthiest”. The ability to illuminate the beauty in a place popularized by desolation conjures up comparison to the Meadowlands reading. Abbey deals with contemporary issues of industrial tourism explaining it’s threat to the National Parks. He believes the parks need to be reformed to bring back mother nature, yet he realizes this will lead to the eventually destruction of the National Park system.
Again I seem to go back to the spirituality expressed in this work, as I have also felt the beauty and overwhelming sense of oneself amongst the vastness of mother nature. I found this quote to particularly interesting as it deals with Abbey’s earthiest view of wilderness. “But the love for the wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need- if only we had the eyes to see it.” (pg. 190) This shows humanities inability to appreciate the paradise all around us even in dry and hot desert.
What is a happy medium between reforming parks to better suit visitors needs, while trying to keep them untouched?
Is industrial tourism helping or hurting our National Parks?