The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 351
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This is the challenge, and surely a field for its elaboration
could not have been better chosen, for in desert flora and fauna,
the whole problem and significance of adaptation is simplified
down (or up) to its lowest (or highest) terms.
The author is a cultured New Englander, accustomed to forest
whose foliage tempers the midday sun to a false twilight on its
moist and mouldy floor. He is familiar with lush meadows,
"pansies and violets and asphodel," marshes and rock-bound
coasts, abundant animal life abundantly fed. From this life lux-
uriant he suddenly finds himself observing Nature stripped clean
of rain-belt trappings and gaunt from a perpetual fast. But,
strangely enough, her emotional appeal remains undiminished.
The wonder of it. Hence, explanations: scientific, philosophic,
poetical. Heretofore he had come only as a traveler, "or even
the traveler's vulgar brother, the tourist." Then and thereafter
Nature-as-Desert haunted him. "Now and then on some snowy
night, when the moon gleamed coldly on the snow, I awoke from
a dream of sun and sand, and when I looked out of my window
moon and snow were like pale ghosts of sun and sand."
Under this spell of memories and dreams he goes back to his
Arizona desert, this time as a resident, eventually stretching out
his sabbatical year to fifteen months.
Why the exquisite tranquillity of his new home? There is less
strain and stress, less struggle among Nature's children for living
room than in more favored lands and climes. There is little
limb-to-limb contest for survival between species or between
individuals of the same species. At least competition is not so
apparent. Each organism has space and to spare. "Out here there
is even in Nature no congestion." She is not red in tooth and
claw because, uncrowded, tooth and claw of one rarely redden
in the blood of another.
Moreover, the spacious desert knows the amplitude of time.
The author is alert but leisurely throughout. He doesn't go to
the ant to consider her ways and be wise, but minds, instead, his
contemplative toad, Ina, who has found not only the secret of
hibernation but of estivation as well; and, in these tandem states
of suspended animation, disposes of four-fifths of her time. The
remaining fifth, Mr. Krutch concludes, must be taken up with
problems requiring no experience of the external world-maybe
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/397/: accessed February 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.