The Texas Observer

Up From the Desert

SPENT MANY CHILDHOOD AFTERNOONS SEARCHING for sea fossils in the Chihuahuan Desert, finding geologic history strewn throughout the brown and dusty land. My neighbor Mr. Carmichael, an archaeologist at the University of Texas at El Paso, taught me and his daughter, Andi, to look with care at the floor of an ocean dried for 500 million years. Sand pails in hand, we climbed the short rock fence enclosing the Carmichaels’ backyard. Their home, like mine a few blocks away, was built at the bottom of a desert hill in northwest El Paso. We hiked up the mild slope toward the empty lots of a street called La Posta, where new four- and five-bedroom homes boasting sunset views

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