21 Springs of Sierra mostly occur in middle region where moraine matter abundant & where rocks have so disintegrated as to form veins for rain & snow water to percolate & be absorbed These springs often give rise to sloping meadows wh [which] are surrounded [sketch] with beautiful firs & adown whose verdant flry [flowery] bosoms [levels] the sunbeams pour. Making a creation of sun & shade that causes ones whole being to glow with sympathy Springs that well forth still cool crystal know better are taught better than to sing loud in such places of hushed & sacred repose The springs themselves are always edged with moss no matter whether issuing from rock heaps or sandy banks. these mosses swell forward over the water in rounded capes & headlands like the glaciated bosses of alpine lakes green [& brown] & yellow & [brown] marvellously blended & with [here] & there a stalk of overarching grasses & a few [violet] tufts. [Here] the robins & larks came to wash & drink as well as [&] the great brown bears.
22 Now a wide winged hawk heaves in sight – Sailor of the air – fish of the upper sea with pectoral fins ten times as big as his body. So high you [scarce] hear his fearless scream.
Now comes a cloud of cranes with loud uproar coor-rr coor-rr breaking the crisp air into greater waves with voices [than] with their broad brown wings Their necks outstretched as if eager to see farther & go faster their legs [folded] & projecting back like the handle of an umbrella Looking down as they go He sees the woods belowdappled with meadows & [glistening] with streams & knows the location of all the frog bogs for hundreds of miles.
The little dusky crested bird [dwells] in the willow keeping the twigs in tremor though seldom seen Now a linnet flits across the open lights on a willow sprays making shimmer of shining leaves like the [beautiful] disturbance made by [of] ducks plashing down from the sky into sunny mirror lake
Jays with gutteral notes hopping from limb to limb leaving stiff dead [twigs] in [fine] vibrations like the (wood) fibers of a violin
Woodpecker drumming on hollow logs tapping dead [spars] then comes
Original journal dimensions: 20 x 15 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist