A botanist's dream! Vivid descriptions of the southwest (CA mostly) desert and it's flora and fauna.
Her home town (when she wrote this in 1903) was Independence, California, that's the general area that she describes. She calls the Sierra Nevada mountains the "Sierras", not Sierra, my geography teacher at Chico is rolling over in his grave over that.
The enduring appeal of the desert is strikingly apparent in this beautiful, poetic study that has become a classic volume on the American Southwest.Frist published in 1903,it is the work of Mary Austin(1868-1934),a prolific novelist,poet, critc and playwright who was also an ardent early feminist and defender of Indians and Spanish Americans. She is best known today for this enchanting paean to the vast,arid,yet remarkably beautiful lands that lie east of the Sierra Nevadas,stretching south from Yosemite through Death Valley to the Mojave Desert.
Comprised of 14 sketches,the book describes plants,animals, mountains,birds,skies,Indians,prospectors,towns and other freatures of the desert in serene,beautifully modulated prose that perfectly conveys the timeless cycles of life and death in a harsh land. Any reader of this book will never again think of the desert as a lifeless, barren envirnoment,but rather, as a place of rare,austere beauty,rich in plant and animal,that weaves a lasting spell over its human inhabitants.
According to Abbey's introduction, she moved away from her husband at the ranch, and for the next 30 years lived the good life in various cities, never to return to the desert.
So frustrating, she had a wonderful phrase towards the end about the desert having nothing but "(*), suffering, death and God", and I can't remember what the 4th thing was. I skim read it, but I couldn't find it. The internet wasn't any help, the only thing I learned was that this author isn't the same person as Freddie Mercury's wife, and I sort of suspected that, since this book was written in 1903.