But the love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach: it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need – only if we had the eyes to see. Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of this natural paradise which lies all around us – if only we were worthy of it. Now when I write of paradise I mean Paradise, not the banal Heaven of the saints. When I write “paradise” I mean not only apple trees and golden women but also scorpions and tarantulas and flies, rattlesnakes and Gila monsters, sandstorms, volcanos and earthquakes, bacteria and bear, cactus, yucca, bladderweed, ocotillo and mesquite, flash floods and quicksand, and yes – disease and death and the rotting of the flesh.
- Excerpt From: Desert Solitaire, by Edward Abbey