the great southwest

washingtonpost.com
There’s a big part of rural America that everyone’s ignoring - The Washington Post

There’s another rural America that exists beyond this rural white America. Nearly 10.3 million people, about one-fifth of rural residents, are people of color. Of this population, about 40 percent are African American, 35 percent are nonwhite Hispanic, and the remaining 25 percent are Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander or multiracial. And this rural America is expected to grow in the coming decades, as rural areas see a rapid increase in Latino immigration.

This rural America, much like rural white America, can be found from coast to coast. But these rural Americans tend to live in different places from rural whites: across the Mississippi Delta and the Deep South; throughout the Rio Grande Valley; on reservations and native lands in the Southwest, Great Plains and Northwest.

This rural America has a different history from rural white America: a history of forced migration, enslavement and conquest. This rural America receives even lower pay and fewer protections for its labor than does rural white America. And, as my own research shows, this rural America attends very different schools than rural white America, schools that receive far less funding and other resources.

In fact, the relationship between rural white communities and rural communities of color is much like the relationship between urban white communities and urban communities of color: separate and unequal.

THE CACTUS CAT (Cactifelinus inebrius.) How many people have heard of the cactus cat? Thousands of people spend their winters in the great Southwest—the land of desert and mountain, of fruitful valleys, of flat-topped meas, of Pueblos, Navajos, and Apaches, of sunshine, and the ruins of ancient Cliff-dwellers. It is doubtful, however, if one in a hundred of these people ever heard of a cactus cat, to say nothing of seeing one sporting about among the cholla and palo verde. Only the old-timers know of the beast and its queer habits. The cactus cat, as its name signifies, lives in the great cactus districts, and is particularly abundant between Prescott and Tucson. It has been reported, also, from the valley of the lower Yaqui, in Old Mexico, and the cholla-covered hills of Yucatan. The cactus cat has thorny hair, the thorns being especially long and rigid on its ears. Its tail is branched, and upon the forearms above its front feet are sharp, knifelike blades of bone. With these blades it slashes the base of giant cactus trees, causing the sap to exude. This is done systematically, many trees being slashed in the course of several nights as the cat makes a big circuit. By the time it is back to the place of beginning the sap of the first cactus has fermented into a kind of mescal, sweet and very intoxicating. This is greedily lapped up by the thirsty beast, which soon becomes fiddling drunk, and goes waltzing off in the moonlight, rasping its bony forearms across each other and screaming with delight. (Excerpt and photo from WM. T. Cox’s Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods.)
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The Burren | Co. Clare, Ireland

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Happy Fathers Day! A father’s love runs as deep as the Grand Canyon. Thanks to all the dads for being such great teachers, providers and comedians. Enjoy your day (and if you’re heading outdoors, be sure to bring plenty of water – it’s going to be HOT)! Photo of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona by W. Tyson Joye, National Park Service.

Part 1, Chapter 10: Thistle

Near the Nevada border, I pulled the truck to the side of the road, cut the engine left the AC on. It is so hot here! Opening the window feels like opening an oven to see if it’s ready for bread – how it feels like you’ve been slapped in the face? Like that. You know, Alice.

I’m staring at my hands. They’re just my hands, like I’ve always had, but…also there is something of Heaven to them, because not that long ago they were touching your hands. How could they be ordinary hands and also hold that memory at the same time? Doesn’t make sense.

I can’t drive while I tell this. Too much to say. I’m going to tell it all Alice. Even the parts you know. I’m going to describe the shape of the monster that is devouring me.

And then I’m going to start this engine, and leave that monster behind.

Keep reading

This picture from Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado has everything! Fall colors, massive sand dunes and snow capped mountains showcase this marvel of the West. Visiting here is an experience unlike anywhere else. Did you know you can sled down the dunes? Photo by National Park Service.

Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel (2015)

“Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked “KING CITY” by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.

Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.

Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: “KING CITY”. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures…if they can ever find it.”

by Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor

Get it here

still my dream death:

i’m somewhere in the desert of the great American southwest. I was probably pulled out there, intimidated, beaten, and left for dead. I’m wearing fancy, 300-450$ dress shoes. The rest of my outfit doesn’t really matter. Sometimes it’s just underwear, sometimes it’s a full suit. I’ve been fatally shot in the abdomen. If that won’t kill me, then exposure will. I’m limping, trudging back soaked in sweat and growing delirious. My eyes are squinted nearly shut because of the sun. I’m babbling to ghosts, to myself from a different life. I’m hallucinating violently. I fall to my knees, dead. My body is never found and my bones (or what’s left of them) are scattered on the winds.

5

Meet the Beasts

01. Billywig

M.O.M Classification: XXX
The Billywig is an insect native to Australia. It is around half an inch long and a vivid sapphire blue, although its speed is such that it is rarely noticed by Muggles and often not by wizards until they have been stung. The Billywig’s wings are attached to the top of its head and are rotated very fast so that it spins as it flies. At the bottom of the body is a long thin sting. Those who have been stung by a Billywig suffer giddiness followed by levitation. Generations of young Australian witches and wizards have attempted to catch Billywigs and provoke them into stinging in order to enjoy these side effects, though too many stings may cause the victim to hover uncontrollably for days on end, and where there is a severe allergic reaction, permanent floating may ensue. Dried Billywig stings are used in several potions and are believed to be a component in the popular sweet Fizzing Whizbees.

02. Occamy

M.O.M Classification: XXXX
The Occamy is found in the Far East and India. A plumed, two- legged winged creature with a serpentine body, the Occamy may reach a length of fifteen feet. It feeds mainly on rats and birds, though has been known to carry off monkeys. The Occamy is aggressive to all who approach it, particularly in defence of its eggs, whose shells are made of the purest, softest silver.

03. Demiguise

M.O.M. Classification: XXXX
The Demiguise is found in the Far East, though only with great difficulty, for this beast is able to make itself invisible when threatened, and can be seen only by wizards skilled in its capture.
The Demiguise is a peaceful herbivorous beast, something like a graceful ape in appearance, with large, black, doleful eyes more often than not hidden by its hair. The whole body is covered with long, fine, silky, silvery hair. Demiguise pelts are highly valued as the hair may be spun into Invisibility Cloaks.

04. Thunderbird

M.O.M. Classification: Unavailable
The thunderbird is a legendary creature which features in the mythology of certain indigenous peoples of North America. It is especially prominent within the cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, and is frequently featured in their art, songs, and stories. However, versions of the thunderbird are also found in the traditions of peoples of the American Southwest, Great Lakes, and Great Plains regions of the continent. Accounts of the thunderbird and its characteristics vary, but it is often described as a very large bird, capable of generating storms and thunder as it flies.

05. Swooping Evil

M.O.M. Classification: Unavailable
A large, blue-and-green winged butterfly-like creature that emerges from a small object, possibly a cocoon. 

From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves…no matter where we live.

“Hypnotic and darkly funny… . Belongs to a particular strain of American gothic that encompasses The Twilight Zone, Stephen King and Twin Peaks, with a bit of Tremors thrown in.”–The Guardian

Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked “KING CITY” by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.

Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.

Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: “KING CITY”. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures…if they can ever find it.

Welcome to Night Vale Book Cover and Plot Summary

From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves…no matter where we live.

“Hypnotic and darkly funny… . Belongs to a particular strain of American gothic that encompasses The Twilight Zone, Stephen King and Twin Peaks, with a bit of Tremors thrown in.”–The Guardian

Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked “KING CITY” by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.

Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.

Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: “KING CITY”. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures…if they can ever find it.

NASA: The U.S. is headed for a disaster not seen in 1,000 years 

A new study, compiled by scientists from the space agency, Cornell University and Columbia University, predicts an 80% chance that the Great Plains and the American Southwest will endure a major weather shift beginning in 2050. 

“We really need to start thinking in longer-term horizons about how we’re going to manage it.”