Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Bracing," you might call it ...

The temperature was a crisp minus-1 according to bank signs when I circled the square a few minutes ago while exercising the pickup as we headed for the grocery store (grapes, bananas and a big bag of Pillsbury frozen "Grands" biscuits in case you're interested). But it's a spectacularly beautiful clear day after two days of storm, as the photo looking south down the street in front of the house will testify, so who can complain? Unless, of course, you're still snowed in.

I suppose we had about a foot of snow in Chariton commencing overnight Sunday-Monday and bitter winds Wednesday that redistributed all that had fallen. We dodged many of the storm-related bullets here, the streets were cleared promptly and I could have been out and about yesterday afternoon had it not taken so long to clear the driveway.

The drive had vanished under a consistent foot to foot and a half of snow from
house to street so a good percentage of Wednesday was devoted to clearing that away. My snow strategy involves shoveling for 10-15 minutes then coming inside for 10-15 minutes to read and drink coffee.

I put a Dutch oven full of soup on the stove in the morning to simmer all day, had plenty of frest fruit and biscuits on hand --- who could ask for anything more?

I was rereading one of Edward Abbey's later collections of essays, "One Life at at Time, Please," the ideal sort of thing on a day when each chapter could be punctuated with a round of shoveling.

Many know Edward Abbey's work; other's don't. To my mind he was one of the finest writers the 20th century produced on the topic of living as an equal rather than dominant species in the natural world. Every new "nature writer" still is compared to Abbey, the "new" Edward Abbey if male; the "female Edward Abbey" if not --- including the wonderfully talented Terry Tempest Williams. Everyone should read, at the least, his lyrical "Desert Solitaire."

But Abbey's been dead for several years now, his body secured in a sleeping bag by friends and driven deep into the desert for a secret burial so that his physical remains might truly blend with the landscape of the Southwest that he loved. And I keep wondering what he'd write about, say, the last 10 years, dubbed by one major news magazine "the decade from hell."

I can guess, since Abbey left no sacred cow existing up until the time of his death ungored, but I suppose we'll never know for sure.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Edward Abbey was a drunk womanizer most of his life but like you said, his writing is one of the best when it comes to writing about all things natural. I own all his books except for Jonathan Troy which he hated and destroyed except for a few copies around. It was his writing that inspired me to use his name as my blogging moniker for many years though I changed it to just Ed this past year.

I think I am on my sixth copy of Desert Solitaire as I keep lending it out and never getting it back.