By Gregory McNamee
Following the version of the medieval Latin bestiaries, Gregory McNamee has written a ebook without delay naturalistic, folkloristic, and literary, made of brief essays on forty-three animals of the world’s deserts. those essays talk about the creatures as they're and as they're imagined, and produce their traditional lives and histories vividly to the web page.
Read or Download A Desert Bestiary: Folklore, Literature, and Ecological Thought from the World's Dry Places PDF
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Additional info for A Desert Bestiary: Folklore, Literature, and Ecological Thought from the World's Dry Places
Our systems of thought may be limited, but that is part of their charm. D. is not the same animal as one perceived by a modern naturalist, head full of thoughts on ecosystemic patches, energy-transfer patterns, speciation, stochasticity. Even among our contemporaries, to say nothing of observers widely distributed in time, you will find a considerable diversity of opinion on the same animals, the same events. Gary Nabhan remarks on that diversity in his anthology Counting Sheep, in which twenty writers take a look at one species, Ovis canadensis, and come up with twenty sometimes widely divergent views.
A camel I fired at certainly ran twenty versts without stopping, as I saw by its traces, and probably farther still, had I been able to follow it, for it turned into a ravine off our line of march. One would suppose that so uncouth an animal would be incapable of climbing mountains; the contrary, however, is actually the case, for we often saw the tracks and droppings of camels in the narrowest gorges, and on slopes steep enough to baffle the hunter. Here their footprints are mingled with those of the mountain sheep (Pseudo nahoor) and the arkari (Ovis poll).
This disposes of the last remnant of his reputation and wholly destroys his main usefulness as a moral agent, since it will make the sluggard hesitate to go to him any more. It is strange, beyond comprehension, that so manifest a humbug as the ant has been able to fool so many nations and keep it up so many ages without being found out. Ants are common to most temperate and subtemperate biomes of the world, but they are among the desert's defining creatures. What vegetation there is in a desert is partly thanks to the labors of the ants, whose endless digging helps loosen the hard soil and allow plant roots to find their way to water; ants seem to view the desert, at least the patch of it where I live, as a garden, constantly weeding the rocky ground.
A Desert Bestiary: Folklore, Literature, and Ecological Thought from the World's Dry Places by Gregory McNamee