I wrote The Sky Inside and this book, its sequel,
while my family was living in Germany. We had been away from home
for four years when I started The Sky Inside, and I was
feeling very homesick. Europe is beautiful, but it is nothing like
the part of the United States I call home. I'm a child of the
Southwest: I grew up in north Texas and live in south Texas. My
husband's family lives in Arizona, so family trips have taken
us across New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.
Martin and his parents have to find shelter in the semi-arid landscape. Those readers familiar with more moderate climates may have wondered
why the grass and weeds aren't chest high. Answer: in the Southwest, if large animals are grazing in the area, grass and weeds may not get a chance to
grow much at all.
Mom, Dad, and Martin escape into thickets of scrub
oak, juniper, and pine.
This sort of scrub can be very frustrating to the
hiker: hardly taller than a person, but very difficult to walk through.
Streams in the Southwest often run very shallow.
This isn't like the sandy stream they find near HM1. It's
more like the mountain stream they find near their new home.
Later, Martin travels to the high desert when he visits Malcolm's laboratory. The landscape is pink, and it seems to shift around
them as their rail car rolls through it.
When I wrote about the scoops and mounds of the pink country, the odd pinnacles, and the piles of rocks, I was thinking about
landscapes like this one.
These are certainly odd pinnacles!
This is the desert Martin wants to come back to explore with Chip. Who wouldn't? It's beautiful.