A World Elsewhere: Life in the American Southwest (Southwest by Jon Ewbank Manchip White

By Jon Ewbank Manchip White

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Extra info for A World Elsewhere: Life in the American Southwest (Southwest Landmark, No 8)

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Monarch butterflies and dusky swallowtails . . the smell of verbena and creosote bushes after the rain . . sun-spun . . sunstruck . . a dream. . To drive through such landscapes, to walk or ride a horse through them, is a healing process. You regain contact with nature as we knew it before individuation sundered us and the divorce occurred. This is what it was like in the Garden of Eden, before we knew self-consciousness and ceased to exist in a simple harmony with our surroundings. To live in the West is to be given a glimpse of our aboriginal bliss.

But the scroll itself is the fulvous and unmitigated desertor deserts, for there is more than one of them. The whole guts of the Southwest is an immense twin desert system: the Chihuahua Desert on the east, the Sonora Desert on the west. They are divided from each other by the vertical cleft of the Colorado Plateau and by the intrusive tongue of the Rockies. Although they possess different indicators with regard to flora and fauna, they share the same origin. They both owe their existence to the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada, mountain systems that suck the rain from the clouds and rob the surrounding area of moisture.

In the Park Center is a tabletop, originally intended for the Czar of Russia, in which the iron and manganese oxides have created a flurry of violet and lavender, lilac and rose, that reminds us that nature can work not only on a Brobdingnagian scale but also with the touch of a Fabergé. A hundred miles west of the Petrified Forest, as you drive along the famous old east-coast-to-west-coast Highway 66, now better known as Interstate 40, is another of nature's fioriture. Even in a region lavishly supplied with volcanoes, buttes, mesas, gorges, and canyons, Sunset Peak merits a detour.

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