Desert Solitaire had many stand out moments to me.
The craziest thing was when he decided to just pick up a snake and bring it back to his home. You see a lot of the fearlessness of this man, Edward Abbey. I know of literally no one, save the late Steve Irwin, who would have the guts to do this. In addition to just “adopting” this snake, Abbey allows the snake to cohabit the hut for a little while, in order to deal with the rat problem. However, this snake is not caged, nor restricted in any way. Abbey also decides to carry around the snake around his waist, and just have it poke its head out when dealing with visitors. To me, that’s pretty badass.
“There’s another disadvantage to the use of the flashlight: like many other mechanical gadgets it tends to separate a man from the world around him” (page 13). With a lit flashlight, you only exist within the bubble of light, and cannot see beyond. However, when the flashlight turns off, your eyes adjust and you can see the whole world. You aren’t limited to the designs of someone else’s mind. Abbey goes back to this thought when he uses the generator to light his hut: “I am shut off from the natural world and sealed up, encapsulated, in a box of artificial light and tyrannical noise” (page 13). This passage is beyond relevant to today’s society – most people can’t look beyond their phone, much less into the world beyond the city buildings. Abbey is really mad that the parks want to build roads into the wilderness that will destroy it. However, it is for the “preservation” of the parks, because otherwise there will be no tourism. It is a tough debate, because on one hand I feel the parks should be accessible, but not to the point of harm to the environment. But where does that point lay?
On the first page, Abbey talks about how all people have a perfect place in mind, and that his is Moab, Utah. But mine would definitely be right in the middle of Hocking Hills, at Camp Oty’Okwa. In my mind, there simply is no finer place. As seen below, it is even at the bottom of the rainbow, where gold is to be found.
For an environmental issue, I have found that road salt which is used to keep the roads safe is actually poisoning the waterways with its runoff, which threatens the natural wildlife. One of the most critical points is that the massive salt increase threatens local zooplankton, which are crucial to the food chain of life. Alternatives being considered are beet juice, beer, or cheese. However, none of these are as abundant or as cheap as salt, basically meaning that no one is willing to make the switch..