Charles N. Elliot


John Muir


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CHARLES N. ELLIOTARCHITECT325 FAILING BUILDINGPORTLAND.ORISONCopied verbatim from one of the note books which I used to keep for my own pleasure,when I lived,years ago,in the beautifui valley of the Little Miami in South estern Ohio.Sat.April 23,1897:-Past week has bean a very changeable one.Last three days have been oppressively warm.TheVfoliage of trees & ufedergrowth a rapidly putting forth after the 1 ting delay caused by the cold weather. Change very sudden and very great-from guite cold weather to sultry days.Today bright,warm,sunshiny and breezy.Large masses of up-piled cloud scenery in sky - fleecy and with great apparent depth.Noted a peculiar Insect out in rear of houseabout size of bumble-bee,which it resembled except for a dried-up,skeletonized look as of the shadow or ghost of a bee,It hummed on invisible gauze wings over last year's iron-weed blooms - a shadow bee,gathering mythical honey from the ghosts of the gorgeous purple flowers that were.The swallows nevebeen about for three days now.Last Wednesday evening,coming up the hill from the train,I heard and recognized the "chitter-chitter" of swallows overhead,and sure enough,far up above the tree-tops I discovered three of these aotive flyers.Have seen the same (t) three birds every evening since,also In the mornings - but no others yet.Out across-lots to Spooner's woods to the S.W.of our house to seek for "fawn-lily seed pods for John Burroughs as I promised him a year ago I would do.Found several,but all too green yet.Many of,the pods h have been either broken off the stem oreaten into by some.insect near the base of pods.Noticed ttiat nearly every pod,instead of being.supported upright in the air by its stem,drooped over until pod ls&S&6 ground,generally hidden from sight under the leaves,thus?-C§jl cb6rtr&) evidently the plant's method of sowing its seed - the pAd covered entire the seed dropped and covered by leaf-mold.A beautiful slope covered with deep rich grass - the new leaves shooting up thru last yearVs remains,making a thick cushion carpet,into which the foot SINLS to the ankle - over this arches the low scraggy apple trees,AND their just opening,blossoms make the air heavy with perfume. Cedars mingle their dark foloage with the tender green of newborn leaves on the budding deoiduQus treei. The low-sinking aun casts a mellow xxgkt and refining light over and tktyiu the trees,deepening the darkness of the evergreens and making lighter the pale green of the new leaves.Cardinals flash their brilliant soarlet across the sun-shot and shadowy vistas,some uttering their oall and others whistling an evensong. Suddenly,over the scene,comes floating the golden song of the wood-thrush,its liquid leiaurely notes falling in perfect accord with the scene and hour upon my 'raptured ear. I follow the notes - a siren strain - down the soft,sweet-smelling slope,across a narrow meadow where hundreds of violets mingle their rich blues AND purples with the greens of the sward,over to the„oroek bank.Still the sweet strains continue, AND I locate definitely the spot where the music originates,but cannot,even with ray glass,make out the singer,who sits high up in the huge hickory tree near Hendricks house.A farmjwagon finally frightens him AND he flies down to the creek bed,a few hundred feet AWAY.Following, I find him at last running along the sandy bank,dodging under the grasses and sedges,picking up a supper and offering musical thanks therefor alternately.(OVER) [05335]


Portland, Ore.

Date Original

1912 Dec 30


Original letter dimensions: 28 x 21.5 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 20, Image 1553

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Owning Institution

The Huntington Library, Muir Family Papers, HM 57349-57497. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Page Number

Page 3


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