Thought bubbles from Desert Solitaire

Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire was a successful season in the wilderness for him and a thought-provoking read for his listeners.  Spending 6 months being mostly isolated from society (besides going to Moab’s Mormon bars where beer has only 3.2 % alcohol) definitely gave him time and space to think about the diminishing wilderness and its fatal future.  Abbey’s ideas on how to preserve the national parks seemed like reasonable, plausible changes that could be made without a radical revolution.  He suggests the banning of all private motor-vehicles; this would allow people to get out of the safety of their cars and they could then walk, bike, or ride horseback–all to prevent the parks from the current smoggy air of cities.  Abbey also points out that this would make the park appear to be 100 times larger without cars and be most excellent for Americans porky-state of being.  He also believes the rangers should get out of their air-conditioned posts and help the tourists learn new skills, such as burying a body–something we should all know how to do properly and discretely.  Abbey describes that the cessation of building new roads in parks would save more than enough money to buy these bikes and horses and shuttle buses (for the old, young, and weak) for the industrial tourists.  I’m curious what the class thinks about these ideas of his, as well as if there have been any changes made since 1968 when the novel was published, and then of course–how do we support these changes?

The other section of the novel that had me asking questions was the chapter where Abbey describes a story about a family moving from Texas to the Moab area.  Billy-Joe, whose father has just been shot by a bankrupt fellow, ends up eating trumpet flowers because he’s starving and injured, which I guess the seeds are apart of which make you trip.  So Billy-Joe is tripping very hard and sees his father and the other guy in the truck that is in flames: disturbing.  My point is that the kid dies after not eating or drinking for 16 days, therefore he never told his story because he was inches away from death when finally found, therefore how does this Mr. Abbey know what happened?  Did he make this story up?  Maybe I’m just being dramatic, and distracted, but thats a bad trip.

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