John Muir


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horizon the islands in overlapping bars and belts and in misty rolls on the mountains and down in some of the larger canons of the mainland. It was a calm evening, a calmness that was felt, feeling its way pervadingly back into one’s soul, and the color came on gradually, increasing in extent of area and richness of tone (like a bank of roses coming into bloom in slow devices as if taking long to ripen; then it faded in the same way, though there was a marked dying out of the more glowing fires at the moment of sunset.) At a height of about 30 (degrees) there was a heavy bank of cloud with dark gray sky above it and its lower edge deeply tinged with red; below this there were three horizontal bars of purple edged with gold, and pale yellow-green sky between them; while a spreading fan of flame radiated upward across these bars of color fading on the edge of the separating radii in dull, lurid red. But beautiful and impressive as was this painting on the sky, the most novel and exciting effect was found in the atmosphere itself, which was so loaded with moisture that it was painted, or rather became, one mass of color thin translucent haze of wine purple, in which the islands seemed to float in a half dissolved-condition. A narrow strip of water, also red, seemed drawn like a border to the isles of the blessed. Luminous rolls of mist lay in the troughs between the mountains. Snowfields, glaciers, peaks were not simply steeped in the rosy atmosphere, but dissolved in purple flame. The main effect was in looking directly into the heart of the sunset as a focus. The three gold and purple bars, with yellow-green sky between; {Sketch: View from Wrangell looking South }

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 8.5 x 13.5 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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