A Poet and Two Painters: A Memoir of D.H. Lawrence

A Poet and Two Painters: A Memoir of D.H. Lawrence

A Poet and Two Painters: A Memoir of D.H. Lawrence

A Poet and Two Painters: A Memoir of D.H. Lawrence

Excerpt

The New Mexican is an inhuman landscape. Man is either absent (less than half a million people inhabit a territory twice the size of England and Wales) or, if present, seems oddly irrelevant. Nowhere are his works an essential part of the scene; nowhere has he succeeded in imposing his stamp upon the country. His little essays in agriculture and building are negligible accidents in a world whose essential reality is the desert and the mountain. Paradoxically enough, the chief result of man's interference with the New Mexican landscape has been to make it even more alien and anti-human than nature originally intended it. By deforesting the lower slopes and overgrazing the pastures above the timber line, the settlers have succeeded, within the past two generations, in increasing the area of desert and intensifying its aridity. Human interference has led to the further dehumanizing of the landscape. Land which used to be covered with grass and shaded with trees is now a bare expanse of rock and sand, thinly fledged with a growth of sage-brush and cactus.

Parched and almost incandescent under the sun, the deserts lie like great floors at the feet of the mountains. Wherever you look a blue serrated ridge shuts in the horizon and above the peaks enormous dramas of cloud silently unfold themselves against the blue. Fifteen hundred feet above the desert floor you climb, at about eight thousand feet, into the forest; and, here a new kind of inhuman . . .

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