John Muir


[Ralph Waldo] Emerson


image preview


I do not beckon you here because mountains are more glorious than plains, but because they are less glorious, because they are simple & absorbable. Here we may [never?] easily see God. I know smooth places on the mountains & you will never be wearied. You will have a tent & be warm every night in a sheltered grove or on the plushy bank of the glacier meadow. Do you know the manners of mountain clouds? Those angels of lakes & streams? - We will travel like them lingering about rockwalls & brows - waving softly along glacial curves from mountain to mountain from dome to dome, halting about the skirts of forests, poising on slender peaks in full exposure to the powers of fountain light. If you come in June we will witness grand upheavals of mountain ranges in the sky, cloud Sierras close allied to the granite at their feet. We are a kind of c[illegible] cloud ourselves, Sun thrilled vapors condensed at this terrestrial temperature to degrees that we call Solid & liquid. Sky clouds may come as glaciers & go about the mountains dense as we. Your daughter could not come at all last year. May she not come now. The mountains will make her strong. She will dwell in rayless atmospheres of the very Soul of Light. Tell her that, & she will not be weary, for these mountains dissolve human bodies She will go about effortless & free, & her body will follow light as mist. People speak of sitting in their bones we will have both bones & flesh melted off & sit in our souls. If Shakepeare were with us we would teach him


Yosemite Valley

Date Original

1872 Mar 18


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0727

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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

The Houghton Library, Harvard University. 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 2


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