Edward Abbey – a brief appreciation and a Christmas thought

I’VE been a fan of Edward Abbey for years. He was an American writer and wilderness enthusiast who will forever be associated with the American South-West. He was a poet, a conservationist, a novelist, and an inspiration to tens of thousands of outdoor geeks. He even studied at Edinburgh University for a while.

I have a collection of his quotes and there is none I like more than this one. A good thought for Christmas, or any time of the year actually.

Read it slowly, savour it, feel it, and if you agree with it then, let out a great whoop of joy and run outside and hug a tree, or the first person you bump into to. I personally would prefer a tree…

“One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast… a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.”

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