National Affairs: Death Valley

An angry sun beats down as though it might bubble the dust. Heat pours out of a merciless sky and heat swirls up from the scorching desert floor to meet it. Glimmering waves of heat dance out of the iron-hot Funeral Range and Panamint Mountain until it seems that the whole world lies waiting for one final and consuming igneous blast. . . . Then, on the waltzing surface of distant alkali, a lake of sweet cool waters appears. But the wise desert rat astride his fuzzy burro passes his tongue between cracked lips,...

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