The Dark Wind (1982)

The Dark Wind (1982)


A facial expression indicating disgust, wry irony, displeasure, pain, or some level of emotional or physical discomfort.


A flammable liquid that is used to fuel stoves, furnaces, and lamps. It can also be burned as a commercial jet fuel. Also called paraffin oil, kerosene is a mix of hydrocarbons. Due to its stability compared to other types of fuel, it can be easily handled and transported. Before the prevalence of electricity, kerosene was widely used for lighting.


Usually refers to hair tufted or tied into a ball or bun at the top of the head. Can also refer to feathers, ribbons, or other forms of head dress at the crown of the head.


Bitter, as an adjective, can mean sour, acidic, or biting. Bitter can also refer to emotions or attitude, suggesting that when one is bitter, one is filled with resentment, spite, and maybe even a little anger or jealousy.


A relative measure of height that is applied to topography. The measuring starts with zero being sea-level. High altitude is usually defined as beginning around 8,000 feet above sea level.

The Four Corners region, within which most of Tony Hillerman's Navajo detective stories take place, is considered to be within the range of high altitude, with many mountains and peaks rising well above 8,000 feet. At high altitude, the atmosphere is thinner than at sea level, with resultant changes in ecosystem dispersal, weather patterns (dependent upon local and regional topography), and oxygen levels in the air.


A formal or prescribed set of observances that make up a regular practice, especially one carrying spiritual significance. A ritual can be performed alone or in small or large groups. Most communities around the world, have recurring gatherings, celebrations, or commemorations that are always performed in the same way according to agreed-upon standards. Such behaviors and events become ritualistic traditions that are often carried out through decades, centuries, or even millennia of repeated practices.

caliche clay

Also called hardpan, this is a hardened layer of soil formed by calcium deposits. Caliche develops over thousands of years in arid and semi-arid regions when calcium from groundwater collects as the water evaporates.


A sling for a firearm, usually made of leather or canvas, worn either around the shoulders with the gun resting just under the armpit area, or around the waist.


An arid environment characterized by limited rainfall, sparse vegetation, and animals that are specially adapted for extreme temperature changes. In the U.S. Southwest there are three deserts: the Chihuahuan desert in Texas and New Mexico, the Sonoran desert in Arizona and California, and the Mojave in California and Nevada. These deserts can be very hot during the day and become near freezing at night. This means that the plants and animals that live within these ecosystems must be specially adapted to find water and as well as thrive the diurnal temperature changes. Plants such as cacti and desert scrub brush have adapted by developing strategies for preserving water, such as growing massive networks of roots or having tiny leaves that lose less water through transpiration than larger leaves. Animals that inhabit these desert regions include birds, rabbits, coyotes, rats, mice, lizards, and snakes. These animals are mainly active at dawn, dusk, or during the night. Larger animals are less common, as they have problems adapting in an environment with such little water. Through time the Southwest is progressively becoming more arid, which has contributed to a change in the distributions of flora and fauna. Additionally, overgrazing of grasslands and the lowering of the water table has caused more erosion and the incisement of arroyos and washes.

High desert refers to deserts formed and existing at higher elevations, usually resulting in different vegetation and plant life as well as more precipitation in the more mountainous areas.

saddle ridge

A geographic term that refers to the outline of a mountain in which a gentle concave depression lies between two peaks. As the name suggests, the shape would then resemble a saddle used for horse riding, where the seat slopes down into a low curve between the slightly higher parts of the front and the back.


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