Edward Abbey, a curmudgeonly park ranger here in the 1950s, was assigned to watch over the entire national monument. In the long stints between visitors he jotted the thoughts that would become Desert Solitaire, the book that is responsible for my love of all things desert. He said:
“I like my job. The pay is generous; I might even say munificent: $1.95 per hour, earned or not, backed solidly by the world’s most powerful Air Force, biggest national debt, and grossest national product. The fringe benefits are priceless: clean air to breathe (after the spring sandstorms); stillness, solitude and space; an unobstructed view every day and every night of sun, sky, stars, clouds, mountains, moon, cliffrock and canyons; a sense of time enough to let thought and feeling range from here to the end of the world and back; the discovery of something intimate — though impossible to name — in the remote.”
Amen to that.