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the Variety in Arizona
Few countries in the world present so marvellous a variety of scenic features as does Arizona... the youngest of the American States, and yet one of the oldest lands of the whole continent... What a wonderland of wild cactus growth, of solitude, of mystery, of silence it is!... Miles and miles of such weary, cactus-strewn, alkali solitude... ~George Wharton James, Arizona, the Wonderland, 1917
Land of extremes. Land of contrasts. Land of surprises. Land of contradictions. A land that is never to be fully understood but always to be loved by sons and daughters sprung from such a diversity of origins, animated by such a diversity of motives and ideals, that generations must pass before they can ever fully understand each other. That is Arizona. ~Arizona: A State Guide, compiled by Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Arizona, 1940
"I had a pard who came from Arizona. All day long and half the night that broncho buster would rave about Arizona. Well, he won me over. Arizona must be wonderful."
"But Pan, isn't it desert country?"
"Arizona is every kind of country..."
~Zane Grey, Valley of Wild Horses, 1947
Arizona is a land of contrasts geologically, racially, socially, and culturally. Its mountains tower a mile or more into the air; the rivers have cut miles deep into the multicolored earth. Snow lingers on the peaks while the valleys are sweet with the fragrance of orange blossoms. Here are sere deserts and the largest pine forest in the world. Here are fallen forests turned to stone, and forests of trees that have survived the slow change from jungle to desert by turning their leaves to thorns. ~Arizona: A State Guide, compiled by Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Arizona, 1940
It is doubtful if any other area of equal extent in the world has greater diversity of natural phenomena than Arizona. From desert tracts to valleys of extraordinary fertility; from torrid heat to frigid cold, from lowland to highland, from plains as level as a floor to a succession of frightful gulches and cañons that amaze the beholder; from solitude to populous cities; from savage squalor and filth to civilized purity and refinement, from the simplest plant to the giant cactus, from rainfall to brightest sunshine... almost anything that can be imagined can be found in this delightful clime. ~A Historical and Biographical Record of the Territory of Arizona, 1896
She flung her query out to the winds of the desert. But the desert seemed too gray, too vast, too remote, too aloof, too measureless. It was not concerned with her little life. Then she turned to the mountain kingdom. It seemed overpoweringly near at hand. It loomed above her to pierce the fleecy clouds. It was only a stupendous upheaval of earth-crust, grown over at the base by leagues and leagues of pine forest, belted along the middle by vast slanting zigzag slopes of aspen, rent and riven toward the heights into canyon and gorge, bared above to cliffs and corners of craggy rock, whitened at the sky-piercing peaks by snow. ~Zane Grey, The Call of the Canyon, 1924
In the average opinion Arizona is hot — all of it and all the time. In truth the climate of Arizona is so varied that a man may, by a few miles travel, choose what he likes as much as if it were made to order. The northern half of Arizona is cool in the summer and cold in winter, varying with locality and altitude, and subject to snows. About midway of Arizona, north and south, the mountain plateau breaks down to broad valleys and broken plains and declines in altitude toward the south. This is the Arizona of the average imagination; of the health-seeker who would turn winter into summer; the Arizona of semi-tropic products and deserts covered with strange cactus and unfamiliar plants. Winters are mild and delightful; summers are hot but dryer than the moister lands of other parts of the United States. ~Sharlot M. Hall, "Arizona," 1906 [a little altered –tg]
Original post date 2016 Apr 25
Last saved 2020 Aug 30 Sun 19:27 PDT