John Muir


[Ralph Waldo] Emerson


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Yosemite Valley March 26th 72. Evening ---- -----Dear Emerson Yosemite is waving & throbbing in that kind of storm called Earthquake throbbing while I write. This morning at half past two oclock I was shaken most suddenly from sleep to blessed life. My cabin was full of strange sounds, & was rocking, crazing, swedging, shuddering in so boisterous a way that in crossing the floor I had to stagger & steady as if walking the deck of a schooner in waves. I had never experienced this kind of storm. Nevertheless I was not in doubt one moment for as the John Baptist Angel said squarely, "I am Gabriel", this storm said I am Earthquake, & I rumbled out to the open sky shooting. A noble Earthquake Noble Earthquake!!! The ground so reeled & jostled that I had to steady against a tree. The first "shock" was sustained for about three minutes with tremendous energy. It was no combination of chattering dismering tremors, but a most sublime out bloom of fervid passionate throbbings As if God had touched the mountains with a muscled hand, or were wearing them upon Him as common bones & flesh. The air was calm & the moon shone free, exposing strange agitation in the trees They waved & whipped as if their limbs had all been pressed close to their trunks then suddenly let


Yosemite Valley

Date Original

1872 Mar 26


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0737

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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

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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 1


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