Dr. Adam Johns
I awake suddenly to a series of crackles followed by a loud thump. I wipe my tired eyes and force them open to see nothing but a dusty haze surrounding me at all angles. I slowly roll over on my stomach to face where Abbey had been camped out for the night, slightly nervous to find out his state of being.
“Abbey,” I yelled over the noise of the bulldozers and cranes directing themselves through the seemingly empty desert. His flashlight, water bottle, harness, boots and jacket were exactly where they were left last night, but his person was missing.
“God damn it!” I flinched as I heard his deranged tone screech from practically right behind my ear. I flung around now in a seated position to see Abbey hunched over the twisted juniper tree trunk, which I was under. His face was pale and longer than usual; his breath sounds were loud and more frequent than normal.
“What’s going on,” I asked confused, partially because I was still half asleep and partly because I could barely see past the thick clouds of debris filling my airways and clogging my pores.
“The elitist corporate men are butchering the junipers to create a parking lot for the spoiled tourists incase they want to park and walk for a little while instead of drive the whole way through in their gas-guzzling box cars. At this rate, there will be nothing left for the unappreciative tourists to see in a few years time! Every living and nonliving inhabitant of this desert will be gone, but I’m sure the ignorant tourists won’t know the difference…” Abbey ranted on, barely getting out a word before beginning the next.
I sat in silence twiddling my finger for what felt like days, knowing I shouldn’t waste my breath on useless words that wouldn’t stop the machines from running and the men behind the machines from doing their jobs to pay the bills. With a split second decision, I stood up and began vigorously walking toward to source of all the noise. One step in front of the other I preceded having absolutely no plans of what I would do or say once I got there. I consistently increased my pace as Abbey nervously skipped after me, I assume because he wanted to know exactly what I was going to do before I did it; that was just his personality, he always had to be a step ahead and never behind.
“Where are you going? What are you planning on doing? You can’t change their minds! We don’t have any clout Grant!” I had never seen Abbey so nervous in my life, not even when we were young kids and a cop caught us steeling snacks from the convenience store down the hill. Throughout my entire trip here, he has talked my ear off about the cowards of this world who refuse to break out of their sheltered bubbles and structured societal roles, yet the very second he has a possible chance to change the fate of the place he considers home, he decides to criticize from a distance rather than take action and confront the destroyers.
“You want change, then you have to go and get it!”
“This isn’t how we do it, there is a better way.”
What’s the better way? Please enlighten me on the golden process you speak of!”
“Exactly, you never have a plan! You talk and you say, but you don’t do, you don’t execute. If you want change you have to go and get it! Put yourself out there, take a leap of faith, be proactive.”
“Saving a dozen trees in a national park in Utah really means nothing in the grand scheme of things. My true goal is unreachable, unachievable! It’s like trying to count all the stars in the sky while standing on the earth, impossible. There are billions of people in this world; nothing I say will change a single thing. You can’t just decivilize a highly civilized society, stripping it of all the things that keep it grounded and relevant and expect everything to be okay!”
“Well then what’s the point,” I asked turning back around heading for the juniper tree where my morning began, the tree that would soon be destroyed and unseen by every tourist that would ever walk around this park in the future.
Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire; a Season in the Wilderness. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968. Print.