John Muir


image preview


comet-tailed streamers blow from the curled top of every wave. A big vessel responds awkwardly with mixed gestures to several waves at once, lumbering along like a loose floating island, but our little schooner, buoyant as a gull, glides up one side and down the other of each hill-wave in delightful rhythm. As we advanced the scenery increased in grandeur and beauty, the waves grew higer and wider, with corresponding motion. It was delightful to ride over this unsullied country of ever-changing water, and when looking upward from the shallow vales or abroard over the round expanse from the tops of the tall waves I would almost forget that the glassy country, treeless, was forbidden to walkers. How delightful it would be to ramble over it on foot, enjoying the transparent crystal ground and the music of its rising and falling hillocks, unmarred by the ropes and spars of a ship, to study the plants of these waving plains and their river currents, to sleep in wild weather in a bed of phosphorescent wave foam or briny scented seaweeds, to see the fishes by night in pathways of phosphorescent light, to walk the glassy plain in calms with birds here and there and flocks of glittering flying fishes - or by night with every star pictured in its bosom. But a little portion of the land is all that is free to man, and if he among other journeys on forbidden paths ventures trespassingly among the

Date Original

July 1867


Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.


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