Susan J. Tweit's Barren, wild, and worthless: living in the Chihuahuan Desert PDF

By Susan J. Tweit

ISBN-10: 0826316514

ISBN-13: 9780826316516

Those seven based own essays discover the Chihuahuan desolate tract of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. With eloquence, ardour, and perception, the writer describes and displays at the dating among the land, historical past, and other people of this little-known, underappreciated desolate tract zone. Ever aware of the hassle of loving the wilderness, Susan Tweit introduces us to its distinctive sights, 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 wilderness. occasionally with affection, occasionally in anger, continually 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 additionally diminishing human society.

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

Sample text

Molly voted for somewhere with mountains and snow. Richard, entering the highly competitive academic job market at nearly forty in a field already filled with white males like him, was the most flexible of the three of us. He simply wanted a job. We sat down with a map of the United States and after much discussion, drew a line around the area where our hopes and desires intersected with the reality of where universities are located. Our line described an elongated oval standing on endlike a balanced eggstretching from Missoula, Montana to Las Cruces, New Mexico, enclosing much of the wide, dry spaces of the inland West.

But they don't. Page 21 These desert residents not only endurethey thrive, exploding into vigorous life whenever they are blessed with the smallest amount of water. The plants are one of the Chihuahuan Desert's miracles. Every one of them has adapted its lifestyle, physical processes, and/or body type to the scarce and unpredictable availability of water. Some of themannualssurvive the months of drought by appearing only when water is plentiful after the winter or summer rains. Like the Mexican gold poppies that some years paint the desert between Las Cruces and Lordsburg with carpets of golden yellow, these plants compress their whole lives-from birth through deathinto a month or less.

My fieldwork as a professional botanist took me as far as I could get from people, to the seemingly pristine and beautiful landscapes of wilderness areas. But after a chronic disease brought me in from the field, my focus changed. Forced to slow down and stick closer to home, I now spend my days in town and nearby, where trash litters the roadsides, wild plants are "weeds," streetlights obscure the stars at night, and people's works predominate. The "field" is my backyard and the areas within the scope of a gentle walk, bicycle ride, or a short car trip; my fieldwork includes learning the stories of the landscape around me.

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

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