By Susan J. Tweit

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

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Additional resources for Barren, wild, and worthless: living in the Chihuahuan Desert

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These desert "streams" run only during the few weeks of spring snow melt or for a Page 29 few days after summer rains. ) The Great River's flow sometimes shrinks so low that it dries up on the surface completely downstream from El Paso. It fluctuates widely from shallow ribbons of water to occasional raging torrents. During one such flood in 1863, the rio split in two west of Las Cruces. Before then, its channel had run between Las Cruces and the neighboring town of Mesilla. The flood carved a new channel on the far side of Mesilla, making Mesilla a "malaria infested island," in the words of one disgruntled resident, with the river on both sides.

I inhaled the dry air and squinted in the brilliant sunlight. Here is a spacious landscape indeed, I said to myself cheerfully. But deeper inside a voice wailed, ''It's so brown! " I turned a deaf ear to that voice. I couldn't listen. I had to accept this Chihuahuan Desertit was, I thought, my chance to settle in the West. It was as close to home as I was likely to get. Only now, several years later, can I admit that first horrified wail. Standing on the rocky, treeless ridge above San Augustín Pass, looking down over our new home, I did not see the promised land.

I stand transfixedheat, sweat, dust, and tiredness forgotten. " I exclaim to Richard. The grassy slope looks as beautiful to me as a Monet painting. Compared to the monotonous expanses of olive-drab creosote bush, this grassland seems as diverse and interesting as a tropical jungle, with a variety of shapes and sizes and textures of plants, the whole awash in innumerable shades of dusty green and gold, flecked with wildflowers in magenta, chrome yellow, orange, and rose-pink. My eyes water with its beauty.

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