After attending the last meeting of the American Society of Parasitologists in New Mexico, I don't understand why it took me 32 years as a U.S. resident to visit what must surely be the most surpassingly lovely corner of this bountiful country. I don't know whether there has ever been a landscape that has so captivated me. There is something almost eerie about the crystalline clarity of the light falling on the burnished landscapes with their spectacular earth tones, a surreal, Buñel-esque quality. Thousands of times, in a thousand locations, the earth changes willy-nilly from lustrous gold to dull brown and back again without any attempt at gradual transitions. The aptly named mesas rise suddenly from the flat earth, like some massive dining tables set for giants that have long disappeared. The beauty of the landscape was so awe-inspiring that I can imagine how all but the most rational mind...

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