Week 3: Desert Solitaire

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, takes a look at the inner uniqueness and beauty of the wilderness. The book is basically notes about Abbey’s 6 month adventure in Arches National Monument near Moab, Utah. Abbey is an avid lover of nature and you can tell by the talks. The way he talks about the wilderness essentially makes the book sound like a poem or love letter about nature. His Rhetoric when discussing his surroundings is extremely different from anything I have ever seen. For example on page 25 he says; “The cactus of the high desert is a small, grubby, obscure and humble vegetable associated with cattle dung and overgrazing, interesting only when you tangle with it in the wrong way. Yet from this nest of thorns, this snare of hooks and fiery spines, is born once each year a splendid flower. It is unpluckable and except to an insect almost unapproachable”. Its almost like he is writing to nature, but does need nor expect a response. Over time Abbey has grown to know the scientific names and behaviors of all the plants and animals. He has essentially become their protector from society because people do not appreciate their true beauty. That is why Abbey hates many tourists, many of them litter and only hurt the environment when they visit. His view on society and nature is unlike anything I have ever seen. Over the course of his journey Abbey deals with many near death experiences but still stands by his belief that he feels very at home in nature and it is where he belongs. The book combines the experiences of 3 summers spent spent as a park ranger at Arches Monument Park into one, which is why the book says 6 months, 2 months for every summer. In the book Abbey describes the beautiful desert landscape he is surrounded by. He even goes as far as calling it the most beautiful place on earth. Abbey does not have a problem with civilization, he just hates the way people treat the earth. He believes people should spend much more time outside becoming one with their surroundings. He truly believes that if people spent half an hour everyday outside walking and learning, everyone would become much better people for it.  Abbey has become adroit at making scientific observations with his trained naked eye. Something unique about Abbey is that he hates the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam. He insists that is a sin and exactly what is wrong with society. He believes it is an example of blind destruction for the sake of greed. Overall I enjoyed Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey a lot. It gave me a new perspective on nature and his given me a new outlook on life. I definitely plan on taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge right outside my window.

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