Download e-book for iPad: Barren, wild, and worthless: living in the Chihuahuan Desert by Susan J. Tweit

By Susan J. Tweit

ISBN-10: 0826316514

ISBN-13: 9780826316516

Those seven stylish own essays discover the Chihuahuan wilderness of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. With eloquence, ardour, and perception, the writer describes and displays at the courting among the land, background, and other people of this little-known, underappreciated desolate tract quarter. Ever aware of the hassle of loving the wilderness, Susan Tweit introduces us to its special points of interest, telling the tales and histories of various matters just like the spadefoot toad, Organ Mountain night primrose, extinct southwestern grizzly endure, Chihuahua Archaic tradition, water, unlawful extraterrestrial beings and the overseas border, tuberculosis sanitariums, and creating a domestic within the desolate tract. occasionally with affection, occasionally in anger, consistently with ardour, she reminds us that human cultures are a part of a fragile ecological and biotic group. She cautions that destroying the wasteland is usually diminishing human society.

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Extra info for Barren, wild, and worthless: living in the Chihuahuan Desert

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At first glance, the Chihuahuan Desert does indeed seem uninhabited and barren. From the altitude of a jet flying over southern New Mexico, the landscape looks like a pale corpse baked in the sun, its skin dried to hard leather, its bones bleached. There is no green carpet of plant life to soften the angular landforms. Plants grow, but only sparsely, each keeping to its own space, a decent interval of bare ground dividing it from the next. Green requires water, and water in the desert is scarce, ephemeral.

That such beauty should suddenly spring from a scrawny, ugly plant seems impossible, something born of magic. Actually, the plant saves up for its spring burst, slowly accumulating food and water in a swollen root several feet long, weighing up to thirty pounds, and resembling the parsnip from hell. This underground store fuels production of the glorious blossoms. Reina-de-la-noche exemplifies for me the magic of this Chihuahuan Desert, a harsh, seemingly ugly and lifeless exterior capable of suddenly producing extravagant beauty.

I stop to watch a line of harvester ants trail across the dry soil, each stout ant bearing one precious seed or other edible many times its own weight. Fiery crimson blossoms tip the spiny stalks of an ocotillo. I no longer notice the heat. We have climbed high enough that we can see off to the west around the shoulder of the mountain. We scramble around the ridge and settle on a small rock outcrop to eat. " and points downslope. Just below the rock outcrop where we sit is a huge mound of cactus stems, perhaps two hundred in all, each just a foot or so tall and a half a foot around, but together forming a dense mound four feet tall and a dozen feet in circumference, like a giant, tufted pincushion.

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Barren, wild, and worthless: living in the Chihuahuan Desert by Susan J. Tweit


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