This is far the most impressive [lowland] cloud I ever saw. More [malevently] crisp & snowlike with abrupt cliffs & rough lavalike projections purpled about the base & [reared] rocklike on a hilltop. The Evening sun beating against its slow outblooming bosses. The cattle all dyingly poor many on the ground falling one by one in slow sure starvation very slow on account of the fine warm climate & abundance of water. Thousands of fat correspondingly fat buzzards sailing above them or standing gorged in the shade waiting with easy faith for fresh carcases. The quails have not paired this year wh [which] is a very remarkable effect of hard times. This is a well known fact observed by all. They have reared no young, have kept in flocks all the season waiting
better times. The provident woodpeckers [have] are keeping a more than ordinarily keen watch over their acorn stores, driving away squirrels who are trying to gnaw them out of the bark I say 4 or 5 chasing down a ground squirrel out of a oak diving at him & sending down stairs [ignominiously] [Tree] Ground squirrels all seem to be getting their living in the trees this year. They climb well. & one of our passengers suggested that this might be one of the methods of evolution unrecognized by Darwin of [transforming] evolving tree sqrs [squirrels] [from ground] squirrels. All are tree sqrs [squirrels] this year
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 15.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist