John Muir


[Jeanne C.] Carr


image preview


[3]singing as they go in shadow & light, onward upon their lovely changing pathways to the sea & hills rise over hills, & mountains over mount- ains, heaving, waving, swelling, in most glorious overpowering unreadable majesty - & when at last stricken & faint like a crushed insect, you hope to escape from all the terrible grandeur of these mountain powers, other fountains, other [illegible] break forth before you, for there, in clear view, over heaps & rows of foothills is laid a grand, smooth out spread plain, watered by a river, & another range of peaky, snow capped mount- ains a hundred miles in the distance - that plain is the valley of the San Joaquin, & those mts' are the great Sierra Nevadas, The valley of San Joaquin is the flowriest piece of world I ever walked - one vast, level, even flowerbed- a sheet of flowers - a smooth sea, ruffled a little in the middle by the tree fringing of the river, there & there of smaller cross streams from the mountains, Florida is indeed a land of flowers, but for every flower creature that dwells in its most delightsome places, more than a hundred is living here, Here, Here is Florida. Here they are not sprinkled apart with grass between as in our prairies, but grasses are sprinkled in the flowers, not as in Cuba, flowers piled upon flowers heaped, & gathered into deep glowing masses, but side by side, flower to flower, petal to petal, touching but not entwined, branches weaving past & past each other, but free & separate one smooth garment, mosses next the ground grasses above, petaled flowers between - Before studying the flowers of this valley & their sky, & all of the furniture, & sounds, and adornments of their home, one can scarce believe that their vast assembles are permanent, but rather that actuated


Near Snelling, Merced Co. Calif.

Date Original

1868 Jul 26


Original letter dimensions: 21.0 x 40.0 cm

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 01, Image 1230

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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 3


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