Archive for the ‘Modest pretension’ Tag

My Most Beautiful Place On Earth   8 comments

Starpass Trail 2012

Wildhorse TrailEdward Abbey begins his 1968 book, Desert Solitaire – A Season In The Wilderness with the sentence;

“This is the most beautiful place on earth.”

He continues:

“There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.

A houseboat in Kashmir,
a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn,
a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains,
a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country,
a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even,
possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from a comfortable apartment high in the tender,
the velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio or Rome —
there’s no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment.”

Yes, we all have that place, that place that inspires thoughts and feelings that conjure those magical experiences. For Abbey, it’s Moab, Utah, which is where he was a seasonal park ranger in the Arches National Monument and the subject of his book. But, Desert Solitaire is more than about Moab, it’s about the desert.

In recording his impressions of the desert, he tells the reader that he endeavored to be accurate,

“. . . since I believe that there is a kind of poetry, even a kind of truth, in simple fact.”

Turkey Creek Trail

With that position, Abbey went on to convey what he called a “modest pretension” that the desert is a vast and complex world, making it very difficult for language to gather the simple facts when the facts are infinite. Since he could not get the desert into a book, he tried something different,

“. . . I tried to create a world of words in which the desert figures more as a medium than as material. Not imitation but evocation has been the goal.”

I share his goal in my photography, not to provide a copy of the original, but to create anew through the power of the observer’s imagination. It is hoped that you may find the images of my most beautiful place on earth, the Sonoran desert, pleasing to the eye. However, as Abbey cautioned, do not travel to the desert and expect to see what I have captured —

“When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you’ll see something, maybe.”


Cochise Stronghold
Images by kenne

“The desert, when the sun comes up…I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.”
― Tom Hanks


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