Thursday, January 04, 2007

Old contacts

A friend from years past has been in contact, and we managed to meet at the climbing gym for a little afternoon workout; had a good time catching up. She's getting involved in canyoneering, an outdoor activity which at its most challenging, requires knowledge and use of all kinds of techniques, from swimming to rappelling. After a couple of adventures with a friend, she said she realized that if something happened while they were way out in some slot canyon, there would be no one around to treat any injuries, so she's going to take a wilderness first aid course pretty soon in order to be better prepared. I asked her if she'd ever read any of Edward Abbey's desert writings - now there was a feller who'd canyoneer buck naked with a bottle of hooch and write about the landscape evocatively - but she'd never heard of him or the Monkey Wrench Gang. I hestitated to enthusiastically recommend Abbey, since he had some obnoxious views on various issues, such as illegal Mexican immigration that he was hollering about back in the 1970's; my friend is young and would likely be offended by Abbey's sexist and biased outbursts, as I was, and I'm not young. But he's worth reading for his passionate descriptions of vanished areas, such as Glen Canyon in Arizona, now drowned under Lake Powell, and his strong stance on preserving wilderness. We ain't got much left.


Blogger JS said...

Sometimes the best voices for a specific issue are the worst voices for others. Abbey's diatribes on social issues may be inexcusable to some. But his appreciation of the natural world we're ruining with abandon is evidence that there can be goodness in even the most gnurlish among us.

6:27 PM  
Blogger JS said...

Damn Blogger! I posted an erudite comment and it was lost in the ether. What I said was: Abbey's social commentaries may have been objectionable, but his defense of the natural world suggests that there is goodness among even the most churlish among us.

6:32 PM  

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