John Muir


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59 Once I was very hungry & lonely in Tennessee I had been walking most all day in the Cumberland Mountains without coming to a single house, but in crossing a darkshaded stream whose border trees closed over it [with] like a leafy sky I found the Trail Dicksonia that I had looked for so long & the first Magnolia tree that I had ever beheld I sat down & reveled in the glories of my discoveries A mysterious breathing of a wind moved in the trees & the stream [sangs] [the most unbroken of nature] song cheerily at every ripple There is no place so impressively solitary as a dense forest with a stream passing over a rocky bed at a moderate inclination Feelings of isolation soon caught me again among these hushed sounds but one of the Lords smallest birds came out to me from some bushes at the side of a moss clad rock It had a wonderfully expressive

60 eye & in one moment that confiding bird preached me more effectual sermon on heavenly trust than I had ever heard through all of the measured hours of Sabbath & I went on not half so heartsick nor half so weary The flora of California has fewer vines than that of any country I have seen with the exception of a few leguminous plants in the meadows I can think of but two in all these mtns & amid the grand ocean of plants on the Joaquin plains I remember but one, One of the [cucurbitaceae] the happy beings who belong to the plant Kingdom of Florida dwell together in gorgeous heaps & twistings & tangles but California plants [live] rise side by side with scarce a trickle or tendril of attachment, looking skyward & proper, like good people at church

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