When the summer wind stirred the lilacs in the old gardens and shook down the blooms of the horse-chestnuts, Father Latour sometimes closed his eyes and thought of the high song the wind was singing in the straight, striped pine trees up in the Navajo forests.
     During the day his nostalgia wore off, and by dinnertime it was quite gone. He enjoyed his dinner and his wine, and the company of cultivated men, and usually retired in good spirits. It was in the early morning that he felt the ache in his breast; it had something to do with walking in the early morning.It seemed to him that the gray dawn lasted so long here, the country was a long while in coming to life. The gardens and the fields were damp, heavy mists hung in the valley and obscured the mountains; hours went by before the sun could disperse those vapours and warm and purify the villages.
    In New Mexico he always awoke a young man; not until he rose and began to shave did he realize he was growing older. His first consciousness was a sense of the light dry wind blowing in through the windows, with the fragrance of the hot sun and sage-brush and sweet clover; a wind that made one's body feel light and one's heart cry "To-day, to-day" like a child's.
     Beautiful surroundings, the society of learned men, the charm of noble women. the graces of art, could not make up to him for the loss of those light-hearted mornings in the desert, for that wind that made one a boy again. He had noticed that this peculiar quality in the air of new countries vanished after they were tamed by man and made to bear harvests. Parts of Texas and Kansas that he had first known as open range had since been made into rich farming districts, and the air had quite lost that likeness, that dry aromatic odour. The moisture of the plowed land, the heaviness of labour and growth and grain-bearing, utterly destroyed it; one could breath that only on the bright edges of the world, on the grass plains or the sage-brush desert.

. . .


[Photograph:  Marble Gorge of Grand Canyon at the site of proposed Marble Canyon Dam]