with morbid exultation, burial companies black in cloth and countenance, and last of all a black box, burial, an ill-omened placed haunted by glooms and ghosts of every degree. And thus death becomes fearful, and the most notable and incredible thing heard from deathbeds is “I fear not to die.” But let a child walk with Nature, let him behold the beautiful blendings and communions of death of life, their joyous inseparable unity as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and he will learn that death is stingless indeed and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory for it never fights. All is in divine harmony. Most of the few graves of Bonaventure are gardened with brilliant flowers. There is generally a magnolia at the head a few feet from the strictly erectly marble, a rose-bush or two at the foot, and some violets, and showy exotics along the edges or on top. All is enclosed by a black iron railing, composed of rigid bars that might have been spears or bludgeons from a battlefield in Pandemonium. It is interesting to observe how assiduously Nature seeks to remedy these labored art blunders. She corrodes the iron and marble, levels the hillock which is always heaped up as if a sufficiently heavy quantity of clods could not be heaped on the dead. The gaudy flowers are heaped with leaves, arching grasses come one by one,
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist