John Muir


[Clinton L.] Merriam


image preview


6.broken pieces of snow and ice. The domes perfect in polish and sculpture gleam in new-born purity, lakes and domes reflecting each other, bright as the ice which made them.God's seasons circle on. Glad brooks born of the snow and rain sing among the shining rocks, and bring sand to the naked lakes and now in this fullness of time comes many a chosen plant, first a lowly carex with dark brown spikes, then taller sedges and rushes fixing a soil. Now grasses flock to the growing meadows now warmer and dryer back from the water's rim, and many a daisy and blooming shrub, until lake and meadow-rings, growing throughout their season days like flowers in summer, develope to the beauty of today.How softly comes night to the mountains. Shadows grow upon all the landscape, only the highest peaks of the Hoffman group are bathed in yellow light. Down in this hollow it is twilight, and my two domes, more impressive than in full day, seem to approach me. They are not vast and over-spiritual like Yosemite Tissiack, but comprehensible and companionable and capable of human affinities. The darkness grows and all of their finer sculpture is dim. Now the grand curves and arches fade also, and the whole structure massed in black rises upon the sky.I have set fire to two pine logs and the neighboring trees are coming to the charmed circle of light. The two-leaved pine with sprays and tassels innumerable, the silver fir with magnificent fronded whorls of shining branches, startlingly distinct, and the graceful nodding spruce dripping with cones, seeming still more spiritual in this campfire light.


…8 miles north of Yosemite Falls

Date Original

1871 Sep 19


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0537

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see

Owning Institution

University of the Pacific Library Holt-Atherton Special Collections. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date


Page Number

Page 6


John Muir, correspondence, letters, author, writing, naturalist, California, correspondent, mail, message, post, exchange of letters, missive, notes, epistle