business, with all of its tendencies, exerts a positively degrading influence. Milton in his darkness bewailed the absence of “flocks and herds” in his curtained eyes, but I am sure that if all the flocks and herds together with all the other mongrel victims of civilization were hidden from me I should rejoice beyond the possibility of any note of wail. 21. N.W. 15. Clouds .50. Rain 2 hrs. A rain-storm from the N.W. came on over our golden hills swiftly and grandly as those of sultry summer in the Mississippi Valley. It lasted about one minute, but was the most sudden downpour from the clouds, the most magnificent cataract of the sky mountains that I ever beheld. A portion of the sky to the east was brushed smooth with thin white clouds, and the rain torrents showed clearly upon them to a great height. This cloud waterfall, like those of Yosemite rocks, was neither spray, rain, or solid water. How glorious a baptism did our flowers receive, and how sweet their breath. This flower baptism is the kind that should be administered to the exact measurers of all sects, for to any decent common conscience it would be at once immersion, pouring, or heavy sprinkling. The fields are intensely lovely. The warm rains of the last week have doubled the depth of plant life and opened whole lakes and seas of color. There is a very small Plantago, silky gray, half silvery plant which has done more during the last few days for the general beauty of the plains than all others combined. It is now long enough to wave and show ripples of shade. It gives its peculiar gray plushy color to all of the lower shallows of gravelly hillsides. A happy modest plant. 22 N.W. 15. Clouds .05. Bright, blowy and cool. One of the [Eschscholtzias] (eschollyias) has stamens and pistils nearly alike, and both resemble leaves. There is a circle of pods arranged like a vase. The filaments show not as answering to the stalk of the leaf but as the leaf itself.
Original journal dimensions: 14 x 18 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist