John Muir


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but not nearly so well as it does on dry ground, even rocky. IT has the bogs to itself, nearly, only a few Mertens try to live with it, but are speedily killed out, also a few two leaved pines. On the average there is more of cedar on the island than of any other species. Those in the swamps are unhealthy, though some are three or four feet dia. Few living branches on the old ones. Mostly tall tapering stumps with not enough of limbs and leaves to show life, but never seem to die wholly. On the rocky ledges around swamps they reach best development. Truly noble trees. Many are afflicted with a dry rot, a fungus growth like that which afflicts the arbor vitae, Libocedrus, juniper and other cypresses like itself. I sketched and wrote out notes all day. In the evening Mr. Y[oung] gave the Indians a lesson, calling in our Indian neighbor. Told them the store of Christ. The Indian wanted to know why the Jews put Him on the Cross. The Indians found a devil fish, octopus, on the shore at low tide, an eight armed radiate about three feet wide, each arm with two rows of button-like prehensile discs like shirt-buttons, that close upon any object they touch and grip it and gather upon their whole force if they wish to hold it, or eat it. The mouth is armed with a break like that of a parrot only the jaws shorter and more powerful, like dentist’s forceps, brown in color. The amount of squirming, gripping, rolling over, turning over motion possessed by these arms is a truly wonderful thing regarded from a mechanic’s point of view. They look like the devil and live, it is said, chiefly on craps and clams. Nov 17. A wild stormy raw morning. How the rain seeks us in our tents. “Just feel that,” said the minister in the night as he put my hand into a pool of water about 2 or 3 inches deep in which was his hip. “Nevermind,” I said, “it is only ‘cold water, cold water’ in the old temp[erance] song.” When the daylight came we found our Indian {Sketch: Looking S 10o E from storm camp – Sitideka}

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 11.5 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