January 28, 1996 |
From my house in Kenya it was 15 miles to a hillock where I saw a pride of six lions last year, four of them full-maned males. Lions are king, as they say. But as an American reared in the American West, the point I would like to make is that lions, grand as they are, are not king of my imagination and never will be. What evokes wonders of the wild like no other creature is the bear, noble and mystical. Whether teddy bear or grizzly bear, they console us if our crowded world seems to be falling apart.
May 22, 1989 |
Edward Abbey died on March 14 at age 62. That evening, friends hauled the author of "The Monkeywrench Gang" into the desert and buried him under a big pile of black rocks, somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. Over the weekend, some of those same friends, accompanied by hundreds of others, walked into another part of that vast slick rock and cacti cemetery to celebrate the life of a man, who, more quickly than any writer since Jack Kerouac, has been resurrected as a modern myth.
June 25, 1989 |
Read your way into the Massachusetts woods with John Jerome; out come echoes of Walden Pond and Tinker Creek and all those outdoor kindred spirits from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Edward Abbey or Edward Hoagland. This is that fertile soil where, in Emersonian terms, the civilized creature leaves urbanity, dives into nature, thrashes among fallen leaves and finally unpacks the bags only to discover that the luggage of the other life is still important. Leaves, weather and landfall matter.
June 4, 1989 |
John Burroughs was an odd sort of nature writer. Disdaining exploration and adventure, he stayed put in the gentle Catskill mountains of his birth. He would venture forth occasionally--Teddy Roosevelt asked him along on his presidential visits to the western parks--but he was invariably unimpressed. Yellowstone's geysers struck him as "out of place, as if nature had made a mistake," he suggested that their power be harnessed to heat the nearby hotels. When he visited Yosemite, he sulked till he spotted a robin, "the first I had seen since leaving home."
March 23, 1989
It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of author Edward Abbey. I will not be able to think of the arid beauty of northern Arizona or Utah's Canyonlands without his writings coming to mind. I hope that his publishers will release the draft of his last novel. A sequel to "The Monkey Wrench Gang" will be welcomed with open arms. Thank you, Mr.
January 14, 1990 |
" . . . the damn thing is alive. When you finish, the tale lives on in your head, which is the most a book can do."
September 27, 2005
It was a true pleasure in this concrete mess to open the paper and read Ken Lamberton's essay on Edward Abbey ["His Preferred Immortality," Sept. 20], one of our greatest outdoor writers and activists. STEVE TYLER Orange
January 19, 2000
This Sunday: John Reader on "African Ceremonies"; Sherman Alexie on Ian Frazier's "On the Rez"; Jonathan Levi on Robert Olen Butler's "Mr. Spaceman"; and Douglas Brinkley with an appreciation of Edward Abbey on the 25th anniversary of the publication of "The Monkey Wrench Gang."
October 29, 1995 |
The cycle of extreme floods and droughts during the past dozen years illustrates how fragile is our hold on the water that sustains the West. It seems like ancient history now, but it was only a few years ago that drought busters roamed L.A. streets and issued citations for wasting water; California, Nevada and Arizona were denied Colorado River water for the first time; Lake Powell recorded its lowest levels from 1987 to 1992.
March 23, 2003 |
Wallace Stegner is so commonly referred to as "the dean of Western writers" that no one remembers who said it first. "Our great citizen-writer," said author Barry Lopez in a tribute to Stegner. "The only living American writer worthy of a Nobel," wrote Edward Abbey before the 1993 death of Stegner, whose frontline work with the Sierra Club and the government on environmental issues in the 1960s rounded out his literary reputation to include activist and savior of the West.