John Muir


image preview


18 The clump of days bounded by the 16th & 23 was pictured with the sublimest forms of mountain tempest. 15th & 16th were bright & clear. [A line of] sunshine two days in breadth was drawn [between] separatingly upon a dark two weeks page of storm.

The mtns [mountains] received snow during all of these nights & days between 16th & 23rd. These six days may be compared to a plant whose root is in the sky. This plant [of] storm sprouted on the night of the 16th reached full stature & flowered on the 18th such petals of cloud & crystals such columns of snowy pistil fall. How plant like did the organs of this storm crumple up & decay & return to the common fund of the weather Natures resources to be moulded & worked up into other fabrics.

On the 18th the falls were in terrible power. I gazed upon the night torrent

19 of snowy cometized water whether in or out of the body I can [not] hardly tell such overwhelming displays of power & [exquisitely] beauty [iful grandeur] Almost [wrings] the life out of our feeble tabernacle. I shouted until I was exhausted & sore with [intense] excitement. Down came the infinite waters chafed among combative buttresses of unflinching granite until[l] they roared like ten thousand furies, screaming hissing surging like the maddened onset of all the wild [tameless] spirits of the mountain sky. A perfect hell of conflicting demons. I speak after the manner of men but there was no look nor syllable of fury among all the songs & gestures of these living waters. No thought of war No complaining discard Not the faintest breath of confusion. One stupendous unit of light & song perfect & harmonious as any in heaven.

Date Original

November 1869


Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.


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