and began to consider what they try next, the more experienced of the dogs, seeing the desperate condition of affairs, dashed upon their conglomerate ranks, made vigorous use of teeth and voice, and soon compelled the felted phalanx to break homeward with ordinary life and sheepishness. I succeeded in getting all corralled before dark, excepting a few that drifted off like chaff before the wind, but these found shelter back of some hills and I found most of them the next day. After making tea in the black pot I ventured out in the dark to find the hiding place of some weak sheep and to hear the storm. The night was what is usually called wild and dismal. The sky was one shapeless mass of blackness and gave rain in torrents, and the harmonious powers of the storm were glorious to feel and hear – not winter winds among the solemn pines, nor the storm blasts of ocean I used to hear at Dunbar where the shore is rockiest, are more impressively glorious than the black night-storms of these broad happy plains. The last day of 1868 was a season of rich light and shade – of clear sky and heavy clouds. Cloud-shadows drifted heavily over the brown plains like islands of solid darkness in a sea of light. The air was balmy, making springtime for the flowers and inspiring lark congregations with unmeasured joy. (Like an ardent life) this day was full of very bright and very dark places, meeting grandly and boldly like deep experiences in a noble character. Jan. 1st. The New Year was ushered in with rain, a black day without a single sunbeam. The purple and brown colors are fast fading from the plains, and bright youthful plant green is deepening with astonishing rapidity. Every groove and hollow, however shallow, has its stream – living water is sounding everywhere. “Tumbling brown, the burn comes down, and roars from bank to brae.”
Original journal dimensions: 14 x 18 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist