[John Muir]


[Jeanne C.] Carr


image preview


[2]You know that for the last three years I have been ploddingly making observations about this valley & the high mountain region to the East of it drifting broodingly about & taking in every natural lesson that I was fitted to absorb In par- ticular the great valley has always kept a place in my mind How did the Lord make it? What tools did he use? How did he apply them & when? I considered the sky above it & all of its opening canons, & studied the flowers that came in by every door that I saw standing open, but I could get no light Then I said "Your are attempting what is not possible for you to accomplish Yosemite is the end of a grand chap- ter - if you would learn to read it go commence at the beginning" Then I went above to the alphabet valleys of the summits comparing canon with [3]canon with all their varieties of rock structure & cleavage & the comparative size & slope of the glaciers & waters wh they contained Also the grand congregations of rock creations was present to me & I studied their forms & sculpture. I soon had a key to every Yosemite rock & perpendicular & sloping wall. The grandeur of these forces & their glorious results overpower me & inhabit my whole being, waking or sleeping I have no rest in dreams I was blurred sheets of glacial writing or follow lines of cleavage or struggle with the difficulties of some extraordinary rock form. Now it is clear that woe is me if I do not drown this tendency towards nervous prostration by constant labor in working up the details of this whole question I have been down from the



Date Original

[1871] Sep 8


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 26 cm.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 02, Image 0509

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The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust.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

John Muir National Historic Site. 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