One might define this as a companion piece to The Twelve Seasons, contemplative perhaps more than descriptive, philosophical, aware. Where the earlier book (1949) took the reader through the twelve months of the Connecticut year, this new book gives to the New Englander a sense of discovery- with the author- of ""the desert year"". It seems a bit ironical for the author of Henry David Thereau and Great American Nature Writing to put himself in the class with beginners (such as this reader) but his desert year brought him full measure of the growing delights of observation as the lower Sonoran Desert became in all senses ""home"" to him. One shares the sense of excitement as he experiments with the tadpoles of the spadefoot toad; one shares the contrasts of his experience from a mountaintop; one understands at the close why he has found it more than aesthetically satisfying, why the spaciousness, the austerity, prove reassuring to those worn out with crowded centers. The umimportance of Things -- the sense that ""much can be lacking in the midst of plenty"" dominates the experience. And in the final months, he seized the chance to stay for a time in Carr Canyon, learning to see birds, and finally to grasp something of the majesty of Cathedral Valley, that ""newly discovered"" region of the great sandstone ""monuments"". A fascinating book -- for discriminating readers.