John Muir


[Jeanne C.] Carr


image preview


16Some numbers have found their way through the Bloody Canon pass to Mono. In the evening Black & I rode together up into the sugar pine forests & on to his old ranch in the moonlight The grand priest like pines held their arms above us in blessing The wind sang songs of welcome The cool glaciers & the running crystal fountains were in it I was no longer [underlined: on] but [underlined: in] the mountains home again, & my pulses were filled again On & on in white moonlight spangles on the streams shadows in rock hollows & briery ravines Tree architecture on the sky more divine than ever Stars in [deleted: among] their spires, leafy Mosaic in meadow & bank. Never had the Sierra [deleted: it] seemed so unexhaustable mile on mile onward in the forest through groves old & young, pine tassels over arching & brushing both cheeks at once, the chirping of crickets & frogs only deepened the stillness. About 8 o’clock a strange 17mass of tones came surging & waving through the pines. “That’s the death song” said Black as he reined up his horse to listen. Some Indian is dead, soon two glaring watch fires shone red through the forest marking the place of [deleted: their] congregation The fire glare & the wild railing came with indescribable unpresarveness through the still dark woods. I listened eagerly as the weird curves of woe swelled & cadenced now rising steep like glacial precipices now swooping low in polished slopes Falling bowlders & rushing streams & wind tones caught from rock & tree I were in it. As we at length rode away & the heaviest notes were lost in distance I wandered that so much of mountain nature should well out from such a source Miles away we met Indian groups slipping through the shadows on their their way to join the death wail Farther on a harsh grunting & growling seemed to come from the opposite bank of a hazely brook along wh we rode. What?


Yosemite Valley

Date Original

[1874 Sep]


Original letter dimensions: 25 x 40 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 03, Image 0197

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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 10


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