A High Uintas Bookshelf
In this column well list 2-4 interesting articles, books or the like that have caught our attention. They arent necessarily recent or recently read-- sort of a random compilation. Within a year, hopefully, well have an established and detailed reading list. It wont be complete without your additions. Please send suggestions and a descriptive sentence or two.
This month's reviews are by Dick Carter.
Desert Solitaire. Ed Abbey. McGraw-Hill. 1968. Sitting on my shelf, this book, always within reach, tattered, underlined, autographed by Abbey in 1970 when he was at Utah State University (that same year or maybe the next I sat with my USU English teacher in a tiny room listening to Gary Snyder read from his just published and Pulitzer Prize winning book, Turtle Island), is a classic-- Abbey's classic and deepest work. A friend and I were recently talking about culture, what it is, why and how, and it is this discussion in Desert Solitaire, p. 247, where Abbey reached a true pinnacle. In one of 11 distinctions between culture and civilization, Abbey notes: "Civilization is a youth with a Molotov cocktail in his hand; culture is the Soviet tank or the L.A. cop that guns him down " In today's stifled world I wonder if somebody can write such a thing without being threatened with jail, labeled as an enemy and unceremoniously dispatched to another country.
Turtle Island. Gary Snyder. New Directions Publishing. 1969. It sits next to Desert Solitaire. I owe Ms. Hess, a freshman English teacher at Utah State University about 34 short years ago, a thanks for dragging me to see Snyder and hearing one poem that has forever stuck with me, Pine Tree Tops, with the seemingly simple, but most complex ending ever, " what do we know" (see full poem below.)
Conservation Biology. April 2003. "Conservation and the Culture War." Eric T. Freyfogle. Noting that "conservation as a cultural reform movement is in sad shape today " Freyfogle strikes at the heart of Abbey's lament about culture by concluding, " It is culture that is conducting the train. Bad culture is heading us south; only good culture can turn things around."
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 2003;1(3):125-129. "How Far to the Nearest Road? Kurt Ritters and James D. Wickham. Not far! In a unique and exhaustive review of the conterminous United States this study shows that about 20% of total land area is within 127 meters of a road, with only about 3% of the land being more than 5,176 meters away!
Pine Tree Tops
in the blue night
Gary Snyder, Turtle Island