John Muir


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generally the sky of our rockery was bright by night & day. Frost of 16 [degrees]to 30 [degrees] at sunrise, crusting calm shallows stiffly,& hanging slim crystals upon the grass instead of dew. But the long looked for [pearly] snow came at last (Dec 16th) South Dome is the barometer of our valley, perhaps the grandest in the world. The scale is divided into an unreadable number of degrees, but only four or five points are understood by us, & the scale is nearly a mile [& a quarter] in length the weight of the atmosphere is indicated by the rising & falling of a cloud upon its [face]. On the morning of Dec 15th the barometer cloud [descended to] touched the snow point [hung low on Tissiack] long fleecy [downy] rolls of mist came softly down the [canons] or floated about in masses in the open valley, like ice[bergs] in the sea, " I do not like these [clouds] hanging about the rocks so far [down]

5 said our weather prophetess [Mrs Sproat] as she gazed wistfully & fearfully from the door sill of our log cabin, reading the signs of coming storm. I was not accustomed to the Tissiack barometer but hoped & prayed that the storm would come. Corresponding in all [of] its [accompaniments] forms with [the capital glory of] our glorious mtn [mountain] mansion.[all things besides.] & it did so come with winter beauty unspeakable. Just as the dark of evening fell the clouds gave rain & sleet. Which soon changed to snow, coming in [large] matted [crystals] flakes. All through the long dark night it fell every peak & dome, every [nitch] bench & tablet had their share of winter [snow jewels] jewelry, as we our daily bread; & the nodding tassels of the pine & the plumes of the Libocedrus, & the naked oaks shared in the first precious splendid gift of their winter sky & blessed are the eyes that saw morning open the glory accomplished in that one first storm night. In rain as I crossed the open meadow did I search for some

Date Original

November 1869


Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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