Archive for Edward Abbey

In The Grand Staircase

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 6, 2018 by johnbuckley100

Amangiri Buckskin-3

All images Leica SL with Vario-Elmarit 24-90.

The Grand Staircase is, in geologic and geographic terms, that rising series of canyons from the Grand Canyon in the south up through the Colorado Plateau, including Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.  In political terms, it most quickly brings to mind Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, under assault by Trump and Zinke and Utah politicians who wish to diminish and despoil its fragile beauty.  In spiritual terms, it’s Red Rock Country, Abbey Country, the most sublime — and fragile — place in the U.S.  Here are some recent images from a journey to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Vermillion Cliffs, and the Grand Canyon, laid out the way our journey took us.  Abbey was talking about Arches National Park, northeast of this region, when he declared it the most beautiful place on Earth.  To us, though, all of Southern Utah and Northern Arizona’s Red Rock country fits this bill.

The journey begins in Zion under flat light, continues through Bryce Canyon on a sunny day, heads through the magical slot canyon known as Buckskin Gulch in Vermillion Cliffs, and finishes under mostly grey, flat light in the Grand Canyon.  The images at the end were as the sun went down in Grand Canyon.  Enjoy the journey.



Zion-6Bryce 1Bryce 1-3Bryce 1-4Bryce 1-8Bryce 1-7Amangiri BuckskinAmangiri Buckskin-3Grand Canyon-17Grand Canyon-19Grand Canyon-10Grand Canyon-18Grand Canyon-12Grand Canyon-11Grand Canyon-13Grand Canyon-15Grand Canyon-16Grand Canyon-14

On How @Edward__Abbey Is A Disgrace To Edward Abbey’s Memory

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 6, 2014 by johnbuckley100

It was through a retweet by Anton Newcombe that I discovered the Twitter feed of @Edward__Abbey, purporting to convey, if not actual quotes of the late environmentalist radical, then his sensibility a quarter century after his death.  There are many such posthumous tweeters, from Richard Nixon to Oscar Wilde, and several are quite amusing.  The Abbey feed, however, is a travesty.

Edward Abbey was many things — an entertaining novelist, a crackling wit, the desert Southwest’s poet laureate, a fiercely radical opponent of unchecked growth and sprawl that led to environmental desecrations such as the Glen Canyon Dam.  He was wrong and illiberal on many things, particularly in what today we would recognize as a racist opposition to immigrants from Mexico, which he couched in terms of trying to protect the Southwest from a population explosion, but which was ugly any way you slice it.  But he was funny.  And persuasive in his humor.  What he wasn’t was a one-dimensional, self-parodic purveyor of the communist dialectic.  You wouldn’t know that from this disgraceful feed.

We don’t know if many of the purported quotes in the feed are actually from Abbey.  We’ve given Abbey close study over many years, and the quotes in the feed just don’t quite sound like him.  They are close, but no cigar.  They read like the product of a humorless teenager who knows enough about Abbey to echo some of what he wrote or said, but not enough to be able to convey the nuances. There is a notable absence of Abbey’s humor, which aside from his passion, was his most attractive quality.  Whomever is behind the feed makes Abbey sound like the biggest bore on the campus quad, not the writer of Desert Solitaire or The Monkey Wrench Gang.

As is its practice, after following Abbey, this morning I received an email from Twitter with “Suggestions based on Edward Abbey.”  The first suggestion was @Che__Guevara.  Of course it was.  What a reprehensible hijacking of one of America’s great treasures.

Calexico Find The Treasure In “Carried To Dust”

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on September 15, 2008 by johnbuckley100

It’s a warm September evening and you’re driving straight thru from Canyonlands to Tucson. Over there in the eastern part of the sky, the moon’s beginning to rise above one of Monument Valley’s spires, maybe the East Mitten.  And of course, the only band you possibly could be playing on the 8 Track in your ’73 Camaro is Calexico.

If, last time around, you wondered what happened to the Mariachi brass, the Keenan-Wynn-in-a-Mexican-bar guitar, that’s because “Garden Ruin” was aimed smack dab in the wrong direction, towards Kansas. In other words, Jayhawks country.  But this time, Joey Burns doesn’t stray far from the saguaro, which by the way, recently got Federal protection, as should Calexico, just for being a national damn treasure.

“”Carried To Dust” is the best thing they’ve ever done, either for themselves, or the many friends they’ve backed up — Neko Case, Iron und Wine, just to name a few.  It’s a real contender for Tulip Frenzy’s album of the year.  Either 2008, the year in which it was released, or 1974, the year it feels like. Here’s why it qualifies: It’s perfect.  That’s a technical rock reviewer blogger term.  Perfect.

Makes you think of the kid in Blood Meridian — the book, not the band — with his boots covered in blood, underneath the evening redness in the West.  Makes you think of Blood Meridian — the band, not the book — with their boots covered in blood, playing on the stage in front of you.

Alternately gorgeous melodies, that spooky Tex-Mex guitar line underneath the brass, and John Convertino’s drumming holding everything together so delicately in this region where one wrong move means death from dehydration, rattlesnakes, bad hombres, you name it. And then there’s the stuff that stuns, the way the sunshine does when you’ve wandered off the trail and the Green River’s still way over there.  Plus, they’ve got Pieta Brown singing on “Slowness.”  Maybe enough said.  After all, in the desert West, there’s not a lot of talking. 

If Ed Abbey were still with us — and the world would be a better place for it: can you imagine how he would have howled at the Sarah Palin pick?  But we digress.  If Ed Abbey were still alive, these guys would be the house band at his Tucson beer bashes.  Yeah, they’re that good.

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