Contents

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Acknowledgements

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Prologue

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pp. 1-6

When I went off after high school to get a college degree, it was pretty clear that my father wanted me to be a professional of some sort—a medical doctor would have been best, but a dentist (like my dad) or even an engineer would have been acceptable as long as I could make a good living and people would respect...

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1. Places

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pp. 7-32

Because I am a geographer, I cannot stop looking at, thinking about, or visiting places. Perhaps some kind of genetic disorder compels me to go to places, to study places, to compare places. Other geographers appear to share my malady, and they tend to use the word...

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2. The Land

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pp. 33-54

What struck me so powerfully that morning in Hotchkiss and sent my mind flying to Provence was the way the land looked and how that view affected my memories and geographic instincts. There was the long east-west valley below me, with its...

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3. Villages

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pp. 55-88

he physical geography of place is the indisputable foundation upon which I have constructed the common vision of two like landscapes. But the human concentrations in the small towns and villages add a critical aspect to the two regions that is essential to our understanding and appreciation of their similarities...

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4. Wine

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pp. 89-110

Some people actually read those large, detailed tomes written about wine. These several-hundredpage volumes usually try to cover all major wines from around the world and look at every significant wineproducing region. Thousands of places need to be discussed...

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5. Food

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pp. 111-130

The sharing of a meal with friends or family is one of the most universal joys nearly all cultures possess. Something about a communal dinner, lunch, or even breakfast often brings out the best in conversation, interesting discussion, laughter, and thought. This might...

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6. Signatures

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pp. 131-140

uch of this book looks at the many similarities that exist between the two valleys—nearly the same climate, nearly the same landscape, nearly the same cultural, social, and economic commitment to a place. But each of these places, and really every place...

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7. Hiking

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pp. 141-156

I have just been looking at a hiking map for the Grand Mesa—the big, flat-topped, volcanic mountain that defines the northern horizon of the North Fork Valley. The map was produced by one of the world’s great geographic organizations, and I have nothing but respect...

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8. La Cheville (The Ankle) Incident

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pp. 157-166

Bastille Day, that celebration of “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.” Our special French July 14 dawned somewhat cooler and fresher than the hot, sultry days before. It was almost invigorating—well, as invigorating as the low nineties in intense sunshine can be. Up to this point we had...

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9. Landscape Miscellanea

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pp. 167-178

hen a book such as this is written, the big picture of a place usually stands out and is the dominant theme. That is invariably appropriate. But sometimes this larger view begs for some little-­picture scenarios that give the text a more human inclination...

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10. The Finish/C'est Fini

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pp. 179-186

I repeat Proust’s quote because it was an appropriate start to the book, but it is an even more suitable closing. The basic characteristics of landscapes have been outlined innumerable times and in various ways by geographers anthropologists, and landscape architects. But basically, a...

Bibliography

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pp. 187-188