After graduation, after a divorce, after an election
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Edward Abbey was an environmental advocate and the author of twenty-one books of fiction and nonfiction. During the 1950s and ’60s he worked as a ranger at national parks in Arizona, Florida, and Utah, where his memoir Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness takes place.
I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with a nonhuman world and yet somehow survives still intact, individual, separate. Paradox and bedrock.
I finish my coffee, lean back, and swing my feet up and inside the doorway of the trailer. At once there is a buzzing sound from below and the rattler lifts his head from his coils, eyes brightening, and extends his narrow black tongue to test the air.
The important and difficult question is “How? How save the wilderness?” I am not much concerned with the state of the world a thousand years from now, for in that long-range view I am an optimist: I think that the greed and stupidity of industrial culture will save us from ourselves by self-destruction. What I am concerned about is the world my children will have to live in, and maybe, if my children ever get around to it, the world of my grandchildren.