in In Desert Keeping.
To those who know the desert’s heart, and through years of closest intimacy—have learned to love it in all its moods; it has for them something that is greater than charm, more lasting than beauty a something to which no man can give a name. Speech is not needed, for they who are elect to love these things understand one another without words; and the desert speaks to them through its silence.
IDAH MEACHAM STROBRIDGE,
in Miner’s Mirage Land.
At length I struck upon a spot where a little stream of water was oozing out from the bank of sand. As I scraped away the surface I saw something which would have made me dance for joy had I not been weighed down by the long boots. For there, in very truth, was a live Olive, with its graceful shell and a beautiful pearl-colored body.
in West Coast Shells.
With all its heat and dust the desert has its charms. The desert dust is dusty dust, but not dirty dust. Compared with the awful organic dust of New York, London, or Paris, it is inorganic and pure. On those strips of the Libyan and Arabian deserts which lie along the Nile, the desert dust is largely made up of the residuum of royalty, of withered Ptolemies, of arid Pharaohs, for the tombs of queens and kings are counted here by the hundreds, and of their royal progeny and their royal retainers by the thousands. These dessicated dynasties have been drying so long that they are now quite antiseptic.
The dust of these dead and gone kings makes extraordinarily fertile soil for vegetable gardens when irrigated with the rich, thick water of the Nile. Their mummies also make excellent pigments for the brush. Rameses and Setos, Cleopatra and Hatasu—all these great ones, dead and turned to clay, are said, when properly ground, to make a rich umber paint highly popular with artists.
in A Levantine Log-Book.
The mountain wall of the Sierra bounds California on its eastern side. It is rampart, towering and impregnable, between the garden and the desert. From its crest, brooded over by cloud, glittering with crusted snows, the traveler can look over crag and precipice, mounting files of pines and ravines swimming in unfathomable shadow, to where, vast, pale, far-flung in its dreamy adolescence, lies California, the garden.
in The Pioneer.
MIRAGE IN THE MOHAVE DESERT.