The White Heart of Mojave: An Adventure with the Outdoors of the Desert by Edna Brush Perkins

The White Heart of Mojave: An Adventure with the Outdoors of the Desert

byEdna Brush Perkins

Kobo ebook | March 8, 2015

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Beyond the walls and solid roofs of houses is the outdoors. It is always on the doorstep. The sky, serene, or piled with white, slow-moving clouds, or full of wind and purple storm, is always overhead. But walls have an engrossing quality. If there are many of them they assert themselves and domineer. They insist on the unique importance of the contents of walls and would have you believe that the spaces above them, the slow procession of the seasons and the alternations of sunshine and rain, are accessories, pleasant or unpleasant, of walls,—indeed that they were made, and a bungling job, too, and to be disregarded as a bungling job should be, solely that walls might exist. Perhaps your lawyer or your dentist has his office on the nineteenth floor of a modern skyscraper. While you wait for his ministrations you look out of his big window. Below you the roofs of the city spread for miles to blue hills or the bright sea. The smoke of tall chimneys rolls into the sky that fills all the space between you and the horizon and the sun; the smoke of hustling prosperity fans out, and floats, and mixes with the clouds, and becomes at last part of a majestic movement of something other than either smoke or clouds. Suddenly the roofs that covered only tables and chairs and power machines cover romance, a million romances rise and mingle like the smoke of the tall chimneys. They mix with the romance of the clouds and the hills. You are happy. Nothing is changed around you, but you are happy. You only know that the sun did it, and those far-off hills. When the man you are waiting for comes in you congratulate him on his fine view. Then the jealous walls assert themselves again; they want you to forget as soon as possible. But you never quite forget. You visit the woods or the mountains or the sea in your vacation. You loaf along trout streams, or in red autumn woods with a gun in your hands for an excuse, or chase golf balls over green hills, or sail on the bay and get becalmed and do not care. For the pleasure of living outdoors you are willing to have your eyes smart from the smoke of the camp fire, and to be wet and cold, and to fight mosquitoes and flies. You like the feel of it, and you wait for that sudden sense of romance everywhere which is the touch of something big and simple and beautiful. It is always beyond the walls, that something, but most of us have been bullied by them so much that we have to go far away to find it; then we can bring it home and remember. Charlotte and I knew the outdoors a little. Though we were middle-aged, mothers of families and deeply involved in the historic struggle for the vote, we sometimes looked at the sky. In our remote youth we had had a few brief experiences of the mountains and the woods; I had some not altogether contemptible peaks to my credit and she had canoed in the Canadian wilds, so when we decided that a vacation was due us we chose the outdoors. Our labors had been arduous, divided as they were between the clamorings of the young and our militant mission to free the world; we were thoroughly habituated to walls and set a high value on their contents. It was our habit to tell large and assorted audiences that freedom consists in casting a ballot at regular intervals and taking your rightful place in a great democracy; nor did it seem anomalous, as perhaps it should have, that our chiefest desire was to escape from every manifestation of democracy in the solitariness of some wild and lonely place far from city halls, smokestacks, national organizations, and streets of little houses all alike. For some time the desire had been cutting through our work with an edge of restlessness.

Title:The White Heart of Mojave: An Adventure with the Outdoors of the DesertFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:March 8, 2015Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1465630589

ISBN - 13:9781465630582

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From the Author

Beyond the walls and solid roofs of houses is the outdoors. It is always on the doorstep. The sky, serene, or piled with white, slow-moving clouds, or full of wind and purple storm, is always overhead. But walls have an engrossing quality. If there are many of them they assert themselves and domineer. They insist on the unique importance of the contents of walls and would have you believe that the spaces above them, the slow procession of the seasons and the alternations of sunshine and rain, are accessories, pleasant or unpleasant, of walls,—indeed that they were made, and a bungling job, too, and to be disregarded as a bungling job should be, solely that walls might exist. Perhaps your lawyer or your dentist has his office on the nineteenth floor of a modern skyscraper. While you wait for his ministrations you look out of his big window. Below you the roofs of the city spread for miles to blue hills or the bright sea. The smoke of tall chimneys rolls into the sky that fills all the space between you and the horizon and the sun; the smoke of hustling prosperity fans out, and floats, and mixes with the clouds, and becomes at last part of a majestic movement of something other than either smoke or clouds. Suddenly the roofs that covered only tables and chairs and power machines cover romance, a million romances rise and mingle like the smoke of the tall chimneys. They mix with the romance of the clouds and the hills. You are happy. Nothing is changed around you, but you are happy. You only know that the sun did it, and those far-off hills. When the man you are waiting for comes in you congratulate him on his fine view. Then the jealous walls assert themselves again; they want you to forget as soon as possible. But you never quite forget. You visit the woods or the mountains or the sea in your vacation. You loaf along trout streams, or in red autumn woods with a gun in your hands for an excuse, or chase golf balls over green hills, or sail on the bay and get becalmed and do not care. For the pleasure of living outdoors you are willing to have your eyes smart from the smoke of the camp fire, and to be wet and cold, and to fight mosquitoes and flies. You like the feel of it, and you wait for that sudden sense of romance everywhere which is the touch of something big and simple and beautiful. It is always beyond the walls, that something, but most of us have been bullied by them so much that we have to go far away to find it; then we can bring it home and remember. Charlotte and I knew the outdoors a little. Though we were middle-aged, mothers of families and deeply involved in the historic struggle for the vote, we sometimes looked at the sky. In our remote youth we had had a few brief experiences of the mountains and the woods; I had some not altogether contemptible peaks to my credit and she had canoed in the Canadian wilds, so when we decided that a vacation was due us we chose the outdoors. Our labors had been arduous, divided as they were between the clamorings of the young and our militant mission to free the world; we were thoroughly habituated to walls and set a high value on their contents. It was our habit to tell large and assorted audiences that freedom consists in casting a ballot at regular intervals and taking your rightful place in a great democracy; nor did it seem anomalous, as perhaps it should have, that our chiefest desire was to escape from every manifestation of democracy in the solitariness of some wild and lonely place far from city halls, smokestacks, national organizations, and streets of little houses all alike. For some time the desire had been cutting through our work with an edge of restlessness.