The Land of Little Rain eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 113 pages of information about The Land of Little Rain.
soon, but there is dread, in open sand stretches sometimes justified, of being over blown by the drift.  It is hot, dry, fretful work, but by going along the ground with the wind behind, one may come upon strange things in its tumultuous privacy.  I like these truces of wind and heat that the desert makes, otherwise I do not know how I should come by so many acquaintances with furtive folk.  I like to see hawks sitting daunted in shallow holes, not daring to spread a feather, and doves in a row by the prickle bushes, and shut-eyed cattle, turned tail to the wind in a patient doze.  I like the smother of sand among the dunes, and finding small coiled snakes in open places, but I never like to come in a wind upon the silly sheep.  The wind robs them of what wit they had, and they seem never to have learned the self-induced hypnotic stupor with which most wild things endure weather stress.  I have never heard that the desert winds brought harm to any other than the wandering shepherds and their flocks.  Once below Pastaria Little Pete showed me bones sticking out of the sand where a flock of two hundred had been smothered in a bygone wind.  In many places the four-foot posts of a cattle fence had been buried by the wind-blown dunes.

It is enough occupation, when no storm is brewing, to watch the cloud currents and the chambers of the sky.  From Kearsarge, say, you look over Inyo and find pink soft cloud masses asleep on the level desert air; south of you hurries a white troop late to some gathering of their kind at the back of Oppapago; nosing the foot of Waban, a woolly mist creeps south.  In the clean, smooth paths of the middle sky and highest up in air, drift, unshepherded, small flocks ranging contrarily.  You will find the proper names of these things in the reports of the Weather Bureau—­cirrus, cumulus, and the like—­and charts that will teach by study when to sow and take up crops.  It is astonishing the trouble men will be at to find out when to plant potatoes, and gloze over the eternal meaning of the skies.  You have to beat out for yourself many mornings on the windly headlands the sense of the fact that you get the same rainbow in the cloud drift over Waban and the spray of your garden hose.  And not necessarily then do you live up to it.


There are still some places in the west where the quails cry “cuidado”; where all the speech is soft, all the manners gentle; where all the dishes have chile in them, and they make more of the Sixteenth of September than they do of the Fourth of July.  I mean in particular El Pueblo de Las Uvas.  Where it lies, how to come at it, you will not get from me; rather would I show you the heron’s nest in the tulares.  It has a peak behind it, glinting above the tamarack pines, above a breaker of ruddy hills that have a long slope valley-wards and the shoreward steep of waves toward the Sierras.

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The Land of Little Rain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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