John Muir


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[Jan.] 14th. W. N.W. & N.E. mod. Clouds .5. Rain 1 hour. Sunset common purple. Forenoon rainy, foggy and opaque. Afternoon glistening and transparent. [Jan.] 15th. W. about equally divided in time around all points of the compass. Slight frost . Clouds .95. A dense black mist came down from the mountains, lifting repeatedly to let the light through and again bathing all the hills and their planets in dampness and shade. About one hour before sunset the whole landscape was splendidly illumined. A danger real or imaginary rattled the silly nerves of my sheep, and they galloped with a noise like thunder from the slopes and gulches, driving headlong for the cancer of the flock and in a few seconds the whole 1800 were squeezed and felted into a solid circular cake of mutton and wool. A sheep scarcely possesses a separate existence – the whole flock is required to make an individual. The body of the flock contracts and expands or bends like the body of a worm, but like the legs of a centipede all motions have reference to one common object. (I shall never love the awkward brute.) [Jan.] 16th. W. from all points and very light. Clouds .03. A few dim coast-like streaks over the mountains. The ordinary tranquil purple of evening and morning divinely laid on. A bright, balmy, genial day. Read in my shirt sleeves, or lay with closed eyes, when my sheep also became meditative, and lady soaking and steeping in the sunbeams, which reached to the joints and marrow. In the morning all the plains were white with hoar-frost crystals, and a slim grating of ice lances was shining upon the calm shallows. [Jan.] 17th. W. S.E. mod[erate]. Clouds .33, large pattern. Slight hoar-frost. Common purple evening and morning.

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 14 x 18 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