University of Wisconsin
t*i.*', JOHN MUIR It is as a human being ever striving upward that I would portray John Muir. From his early boyhood to his old age this spirit dominated him. As a child in Scotland, at every opportunity, in spite of parental prohibitions, and notwithstanding the certainty of punishment upon his return, he would steal away to the green fields and the seashore, eagerly interested in everything alive. Illustrating this trait, I quote his boyhood impressions of the skylarks1: "Oftentimes on a broad meadow near Dunbar we stood for hours enjoying their marvelous singing and soaring. From the grass where the nest was hidden the male would suddenly rise, as straight as if shot up, to a height of perhaps thirty or forty feet, and, sustaining himself with rapid wing-beats, pour down the most delicious melody, sweet and clear and strong, overflowing all bounds, then suddenly he would soar higher again and again, ever higher and higher, soaring and singing until lost to sight even in perfectly clear days, and oftentimes in cloudy weather 'far in the downy cloud' . . . and still the music came pouring down to us in glorious profusion, from a height far above our vision, requiring marvelous power of wing and marvelous power of voice, for that rich, delicious, soft, and yet clear music was distinctly heard long after the bird was out of sight." 1The Story of My Boyhood and Youth, John Muir (Houghton-Mifflin Co. 1913) pp. 46 and 47.
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