John Muir



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William and Maymie Kimes Annotation

John Muir's letter to Mrs. Jeanne Carr relating his finding the rare orchid Calypso borealis, or ""hider of the north"" was submitted to the Recorder by Professor J. D. Butler with appropriate remarks about Muir's ""esoteric raptures in his close communion with virgin nature."" Of finding Calypso, Muir writes: ""I did find Calypso-but only once, far in the depths of the very wildest of Canadian dark woods, near those high, cold, moss-covered swamps where most of the peninsular streams of Canada West take their rise .... I never before saw a plant so full of life; so perfectly spiritual, it seemed pure enough for the throne of its Creator. I felt as if l were in the presence of superior beings who loved me and beckoned me to come. I sat down beside them and wept for joy. Could angels in their better land show us a more beautiful plant? How good is our Heavenly Father in granting us such friends as these plant-creatures, filling us wherever we go with pleasure so deep, so pure, so endless. I cannot understand the nature of the curse, 'Thorns and thistles shall bring forth thee:' Is our world indeed worse for this 'thisly curse?' Are not all plants beautiful? or in some way useful? Would not the world suffer by the banishment of a single weed? The curse must be within ourselves. Give me this keen relish for simple pleasures, and he that will may monopolize the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life,-yea, all pomps and marvels of the world."" This first publication of Muir's writing is significant in revealing an early expression of his philosophy of the unity of all creation, which would develop and continue throughout all his writings.


Boston Recorder


p. 1. [Scrapbook I, p. 26.]

For the Boston Recorder. THE CALYPSO BOREALIS. Botanical Enthusiasm. From Prof. J.D. Butler.



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