The Nature of Desert Nature

Gary Paul Nabhan (Editor)
Paperback ($16.95), Ebook ($16.95) Buy
In this refreshing collection, one of our best writers on desert places, Gary Paul Nabhan, challenges traditional notions of the desert. Beautiful, reflective, and at times humorous, Nabhan’s extended essay also called “The Nature of Desert Nature” reveals the complexity of what a desert is and can be. He passionately writes about what it is like to visit a desert and what living in a desert looks like when viewed through a new frame, turning age-old notions of the desert on their heads.

Nabhan invites a prism of voices—friends, colleagues, and advisors from his more than four decades of study of deserts—to bring their own perspectives. Scientists, artists, desert contemplatives, poets, and writers bring the desert into view and investigate why these places compel us to walk through their sands and beneath their cacti and acacia. We observe the spines and spears, stings and songs of the desert anew. Unexpected. Surprising. Enchanting. Like the desert itself, each essay offers renewed vocabulary and thoughtful perceptions.

The desert inspires wonder. Attending to history, culture, science, and spirit, The Nature of Desert Nature celebrates the bounty and the significance of desert places.

Contributors
Thomas M. Antonio
Homero Aridjis
James Aronson
Tessa Bielecki
Alberto Búrquez Montijo
Francisco Cantú
Douglas Christie
Paul Dayton
Alison Hawthorne Deming
Father David Denny
Exequiel Ezcurra
Thomas Lowe Fleischner
Jack Loeffler
Ellen McMahon
Rubén Martínez
Curt Meine
Alberto Mellado Moreno
Paul Mirocha
Gary Paul Nabhan
Ray Perotti
Larry Stevens
Stephen Trimble
Octaviana V. Trujillo
Benjamin T. Wilder
Andy Wilkinson
Ofelia Zepeda
 
“This book is a celebration, an exploration, an accumulation of voices swept up together in a circle of wind, a deployment of all the senses, including the ones you might have forgotten you had. It is magic, science, memory, miracle. If the desert had a seed, a genetic capsule of itself, it would be this book. And you, reader, are the rain that falls, bringing it to life.”—Craig Childs, author of Virga & Bone: Essays from Dry Places
 
“It’s about time. Who better to tackle the nature of desert, in its fullness, than Gary Nabhan and these contributors. As a desert musician who loves music that credits landscape and place, this book is my textbook for understanding the nature of what moves me to music.”—Hal Cannon, author of Cowboy Poetry: A Gathering

“Mary Austin, Wallace Stegner, Edward Abbey, Gary Nabhan—the sonorous voices of Arid America. None more knowledgeable than Nabhan, who here leads a choir of voices in a desert chorale.”—J. Baird Callicott, author of Greek Natural Philosophy: The Presocratics and Their Importance for Environmental Philosophy

“We’ve been slow to warm to deserts as places worth learning and caring about. This original and probing little book, led by one of the pioneers in our understanding of desert ecology and culture, should lay to rest the notion that there isn’t much to see (or feel) in these lands of little rain. A bracing and deeply thoughtful collection that should appeal to desert rationalists and romantics everywhere.”—Ben A. Minteer, author of The Fall of the Wild: Extinction, De-Extinction, and the Ethics of Conservation
 

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