John Muir


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River bank where current so slow so deep so smooth motion is only revealed by leaves & acorns floating slowly dreamily ripples above reflecting outflowing sweet [dulcet]

mirrors the grand walls feather pines evergreen, thin [thin] bits of [brown] & yellow [enlivening] green peaks Silver fir ranks straight & arrowy above

Ouzel [ ] turning [pebbles] on shallow margins or swimming & diving making beautiful stir like a duck throwing up [ ] gleaning food. Trout leaping ftns [fountains] silver scales blinding with every flash with the crystal waters poplar extending along the brook & golden rods leaning over with pea & agrostis ripe & wrinkled yet waving to every air ripple, color above beneath reflected color of mountains too as well as level dark ground of pool, the canvas for the color, [filmy] streaks of light streaming across shining foliage the fall of leaves & then rustle in autumn winds now Indian summer

Ouzel always here swims well with feet & dives over waterfalls head long – leaves shiny cobwebs [ ]

Pausing in my studies this peaceful restful afternoon I chance to think of the thousands needing rest, the weary in soul & limb toilers in town & plain dying for want of what these grand old woods can give & though I suppose it may be of no avail I yet shout Ho Come to the Sierra forests The King is waiting for you King Sequoia & there is health & life in his [very] looks, in the air he breathes, in the birds he keeps, in the squirrels that gambols in his arms, & the flowers that blow & the streams that flow at his feet.

Our crude imperfect circle [often] engenders a multitude of wants in the birds he keeps in the squirrels that [gambols] in his arms & the flowers that blow[blown] & the streams that flow at his feet. & law-givers are ever at their wits end devising the jail & the theatre & church have been invented & compulsory [sensation]. Why not add compulsory [recreation] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] be bad without a [cowbird] [gorging] [on] [ ] but I venture to say that [mandatory] governmental recreation would be found of yet more importance. Our forefathers have forged chains of duty & habit wh [which] bind us notwithstanding our boasted freedom & we ourselves add link to link – [groaning] the meanwhile & making medicinal laws for relief in desperation. Yet few seem to think of pure rest or of the [natural] healing powers of pure nature. How hard to fall or shake people out of town. Earthquakes cannot do it nor even plagues. These only cause the civilized to pray & ring bells & cower in the corners of bedrooms & churches

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