Chapter Nine: Humanities
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Beyond the Wall

“My friends and I build a fire with
dead sticks from a nearby ironwood tree.

Ironwood is slow-growing, dense, very hard. A chunk from the heart of it will sink in water. We drink some beer. As the fire dies down we lay three T-bone steaks directly on the red coals, aboriginal style. They begin cooking themselves right away, no hesitation. We open and heat three cans of corn at the edge of the fire.


The sun goes down. The air between us and the near mountain becomes visible as a medium, a substance, a thing in itself, transparent but clearly four miles thick. The new, waxing moon, first quarter phase, shaped like a shield, hangs in the sky at approximately the same point occupied by the sun when we first stopped here.

We eat supper. Drink a little more beer. I produce a half pint of Jim Beam from the side of my pack. We drink it, passing the bottle around the fire as the moon grows brighter, the evening more violet.

Moonlight and bourbon. The plan was…” (read more)


Edward Abbey is now dead and buried under a rock. When he was alive he had certain thoughts on dinner. This passage is excerpted from his collection of essays, Beyond the Wall.

Excerpted from: 
Edward Abbey, Beyond the Wall, p. 3

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