What follows is the abandoned opener to another Western short story I wrote a while back that I’m just now putting the finishing touches on. I discovered, during my Sepia Phase (for lack of a better description) that I really enjoy writing about landscapes. There’s just something melodic about it. Anyway, I came across this and thought it might be good to share.
Clairmont sat nestled between peaks of the Mogollon Mountains that rose like green-mossed tortoise shells from the earth, humped in sloping arcs and generous inclines into rounded peaks thick with Sycamore and ash and cottonwood. It was a small town that originated as a mining camp but fell short of this ambition with a scarcity of rich veins in the vicinity. It now survived only as a supply center for itinerant prospectors bound for Glenwood or Cooney, sating its meager population with the lucrative draw of retail to the color-mongers. Scattered patches of range-land moated the settlement, filled with course grasses and dicotted forbs and mesquite with its narrow and bipinnated leaves drinking from some deep watertable, their wooded formations and needled thorns like some abysmal blanket on the land. The scrubland brushed back into dense clusters of Ponderosa that lied at the base of the rocky bluffs with its redbrown knotted bark that tanged like vanilla if caught just right on the wind, encapsulated in what would later be known as the Gila Wilderness.