John Cowper's West

Lulu, I am really struck in these Western states, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Colorado, by the amount of successful propaganda in the direction of the philosophy of Patchin Place - both the upper and lower rooms as formerly occupied - which can be put over! It's only because there aren't any artistic gentry, who can thunder the orthodoxy of the immortals at their heads, going about, that they fall into the hands of Billy Sunday and K.K.K. (Boulder, Colorado, 24 July 1925 - Letters to His Brother Llewelyn)
McLeod's cabin, Hot Springs, Ark., 1901
(Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.)

    Arkansas is one of my favourite states. The poorer people here, like those near Joplin, Missouri, and Galena, Kansas, are in a sense my ideal Americans! This district of this vast country... seems quite different from the rest. The weather is warm and relaxed here, though subject to wild typhoons and to great winds coming across Texas from the Gulf, and it is easy to pick up a casual, scanty, careless, squatter's livelihood, varied, on the border of Oklahoma, by fabulous strokes of luck, when the poorest person strikes oil on his scrap of land. All men are equal here, in the deepest sense of that word, all are carefree, all are worshippers of the great goddess Chance! (Autobiography)

I enjoyed my stay at Stillwater, Oklahoma, where I had to lecture at an Agricultural College the president of which was a regular old rogue of a cattle-man - and I saw and liked, very well, some Indians both full-blood and half-blood. All the labourers there wore those big Mexican hats like the one you got. (Boulder, Colorado, 24 July 1925 - Letters to His Brother Llewelyn)

I have found harebells in these hills, which really are part of the Rocky Mountains - and I saw a White Admiral larger than ours, twice as large - a Rocky Mountain White Admiral - drinking in a tiny trickling stream. There are very few streams, for the weather has been here the extreme record of drought. There are large white poppies too, with blue-green glaucous thistly foliage, and wonderful great dropping flimsy moonlight petals. (Boulder, Colorado, 24 July 1925 - Letters to His Brother Llewelyn)
(Furman University Biology Dept.)

A famous literary lepidopterist twenty years or so later will roam in that same State, his net in hand:
In Jackson Hole and in the Grand Canyon, on the mountain slopes above Telluride, Colo., and on a celebrated pine barren near Albany, N.Y., dwell and will dwell, in generations more numerous than editions, the butterflies I have described as new. Several of my finds have been dealt with by other workers; some have been named after me. One of these, Nabokov's Pug (Eupithecia nabokovi McDunnough) which I boxed one night in 1943 on a picture window of James Laughlin's Alta Lodge in Utah, fits most philosophically into the thematic spiral that began in a wood on the Oredezh around 1910 - or perhaps even earlier, on that Nova Zemblan river a century and a half ago.
    And the highest enjoyment of timelessness - in a landscape selected at random - is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern. (Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory)