Pulling Up Stakes, by Kent Duryee*
(The text reads: "This is a stake (Fuckheads) Amen! Ed
Abbey Don't hit!")
- Back in the Reagan-Bush decade, my friend Jon (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I
lived in the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles.
Construction was booming, and the desert was losing
ground, literally. Houses were going up fast, but they
were being bought even faster. Everyday saw another
parcel cleared of it's native Joshua Trees and creosote
bushes, junipers and wild poppies. Jon and I were mad.
That was when we began to read Ed Abbey.
that Ed was having a book signing down in Pasadena for
his new book The Fool's Progress, so Jon and I got
prepared the night before. It's really amazing how many
survey stakes it takes for a subdivision to be surveyed.
The next day, we crossed the San Gabriel Mountains and
descended into the Los Angeles basin, only to stand near
the end of an interminable line of Ed's readers. Looking
and feeling our best, Jon and I obediently stood in line
with our new books, one or the other of us holding onto
the survey stake pictured above, trying to look
When we finally made to the front of the line, we
were both awestruck in the presence of the man who had
had such an influence on each of us. I shook his hand and
mumbled something about how nice it was to meet him, and
mutely handed him the book to sign. He
inscribed it nicely, and handed it back to me. Then he
glanced down, pointed and said "What's that?".
I immediately began to recount the day to make sure I had
remembered to zip up the pants after that stop up in the
mountains. I quickly looked down and remembered the
survey stake I was holding. Reality blinked back then.
Thankfully, I had indeed remembered the fly, and I handed
him the stake, making sure he noted the message inscribed
for posterity by the surveyor. Ed grinned, and raised the
stake over his head and waved it at the people in line
... did the people clap? I don't remember... Then he set
the stake on the table and wrote his own message for
posterity. Much more eloquent sentiment, I think than
that of the surveyor.
Jon and Kent, partners in crime
More Abbey books!
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