John Muir


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made from a pulpy mass of ground lavas and slate and old ocean sands, beautifully smoothed and wavily shaded like a high cloud at rest. The first apparent writing was done by a mollusk, the valves of which were about two inches in diameter. I found one belated specimen in his tracks. They set themselves on edge with the valves slightly opened to allow the worm-like motion of their muscle foot. Thus they slide along like a top-heavy ship in handsome and inimitable crossing curves. A great blue crane had also printed the virgin sheet with footprints 8 inches in length and some other smaller birds and beasts had left their mark before I came to make mine, all easily read at present, but how soon will writing above writing in countless characters be inscribed on this beautiful sheet, making it yet more beautiful but also carrying it far beyond our analysis (of our limited minds). There are no unwritten pages in nature, but everywhere line upon line. {Petal, leaf, and flower of sarcodes sanguineum [sanguinea]}In like manner every human heart and mind is written upon as soon as created, and in all lives there are periods of change when by various floods their pages are smoothed like these sand sheets, preparing them for a series of new impressions, and many an agent is at once set in motion printing and picturing. Happy is the man

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 14 x 18 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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