In the 1970s, bookman extraordinaire Lawrence Clark Powell chose The Land of Journeys’ Ending as “the book that best embodies the essences of the region whose heartland is Arizona and New Mexico.” Mary Austin came to the southwest late in her life, arriving in 1918 and then settling in Santa Fe in 1923. She spent the remainder of her days there, embracing the region, until her death at age 66 in 1934. Now, opening The Land of Journeys’ Ending in 2009, you’ll still “find landscape, history, piñon, juniper, sheep, an eagle, a bluebird – and the spirit of that indomitable woman.”
Between the Rio Colorado and the upper course of the Rio Grande lies the Land of Journeys’ Ending.
No such natural boundaries, but the limits of habitableness, define it north and south. About the sources of its inclosing rivers the ranges of the continental axis draw to a head in the Colorado Rockies. Southward they scatter, like travelers who have lost their heads in terror of desertness, among the vast unwatered plateaus of Old Mexico. But all the country east of the Grand Cañon, west and north of the Jornada del Muerto, is like the middle life of a strong man, splendidly ordered. This is the first sense of the land striking home to the traveler who gives himself up to it. Go far enough on any of its trails, and you begin to see how the world was made. – from The Land of Journeys’ Ending, by Mary Austin