Among all the geographic areas of the United States, the Southwest in general and Arizona in particular is blessed with a panoramic beauty that almost defies description. Only a limited number of poets, painters, and photographers have been able to do justice to her splendor. ~Marshall Trimble, Arizona: A Panoramic History of a Frontier State, 1977
She looked out of her window. How blue the sky. The mountain peaks stood up like dark spears. Patches of snow shone in the sunlight, running down to the edge of the vast green belt of forest land…. Arizona! There was no place in the world so full of romance and beauty, and the natural things that stirred the soul. ~Zane Grey, The Water Hole, 1928 [One does tend to feel this way in the pines; in the more arid areas, not so much. Dust isn’t very romantic.
Have you slept in a tent alone—a tent
Out under the desert sky—
Where a thousand thousand desert miles
All silent round you lie?—
The dust of the aeons of ages dead,
And the peoples that trampled by?
Have you looked in the desert’s painted cup,
Have you smelled at dawn the wild sage musk,
Have you seen the lightning flashing up
From the ground in the desert dusk?
Have you heard the song in the desert rain
(Like the undertone of a wordless rhyme)?
Have you watched the glory of colors flame
In its marvel of blossom time?…
If you have, then you know, for you’ve felt its spell,
The lure of the desert land,
And if you have not, then I could not tell—
For you could not understand.
~Madge Morris Wagner (1862–1924), “The Lure of the Desert Land,” c.1909 [“Mrs. Wagner has not written of the desert from a car window. On the contrary she knows and she loves the desert as a sailor knows and loves the ocean. Her tent is there season after season, and the mercury is above par. For she and her enterprising husband, Harr Wagner, believe in Arizona…” ~Joaquin Miller, 1892
He wanted to know what I missed from home… I tried to describe impossible things like the scent of creosote — bitter, slightly resinous, but still pleasant — the high, keening sound of the cicadas in July, the feathery barrenness of the trees, the very size of the sky, extending white-blue from horizon to horizon, barely interrupted by the low mountains covered with purple volcanic rock. The hardest thing to explain was why it was so beautiful to me — to justify a beauty that didn’t depend on the sparse, spiny vegetation that often looked half dead, a beauty that had more to do with the exposed shape of the lane, with the shallow bowls of valleys between the craggy hills, and the way they held on to the sun. ~Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, written 2003, published 2005
She was actually learning to love Arizona. The beauty and color and solitude, the vastness of it had called to something deep in her. First she had complained of the dust, the wind, the emptiness, the absence of people. But she had forgotten these. ~Zane Grey, The Water Hole, 1927