John Muir


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23 the [way cup] with(flashing) golden wings as if colored like October leaves clad in perpetual autumn the dearest of the woodpeckers elegant in form notwithstanding short barbed tail [moves] graceful on the [ground] sits well on slender sprays and climbs as easily & fast as any of his tribe.

Now we have the loud cackle & chuckle of the woodcock the prime of Sierra woodpeckers larger than a pidgeon with ivory bill crimson head and jet wings. making the woods ring – loves the deepest dells where the sugar pine & sequoia grow tallest & cast dense shadows – astonishing how far they are heard in calm weather drumming on dead sequoia top

Now a humming bird alights wing weary on a twig he has [roved] many a mile since early morning & touched more flrs [flowers] than the botanist could gather in a week

The squirrels send down showers of [bur] scales & purp [purple] seed wings & bark [like] that flicker & alight like snowflakes.

How infinitely superior to our physical sense are those of the mind the spiritual eye sees not only [rivers] of water but of air

24 [ ] the crystals of the rock in rapid sympathetic [motion] to the sun [ ] enthusiastic obedience to his [rays] then sinking back [ ] in the night. The whole world in motion [to] center [So] also sounds. we hear only woodpeckers & squirrels [Rush] of [turgid] [streams]. but imagination gives the sweet music of ] insect wings. enables us to hear all round the world [ ] vibration of every needle the [waving] of every bole & branch sound of the stars in circulation like particles in blood [Sierra] [canons] full of avalanche debris, we hear it [ ] again for we can read its past sounds from present [condition] again we hear the earthquake rock falls [this] is [nearly] infinite

[Imagination] usually regarded as synonym for unreal Yet [ ] is true imagination healthful & real less likely to [mislead] than the coarser senses .

[ ] P. Contorta is rigid on rigid rocks but wandy along meadow

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 20 x 15 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist