John Muir


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The wind had strange sounds in waving the heavy panicles over my head, and I was a little sad, for I feared sickness from the malaria so abundant here. When I suddenly thought of the graveyard - “there,” thought I, “is a place where superstitious negroes dare not go after dark, and none who has any friends or the shelter of a roof will be likely to go there among the dead in this moonlight. And then, thought I, if I am to be exposed to unhealthy vapors I shall have splendid compensations in witnessing those grand oaks in full moonlight, with all the impressive and nameless influences of the silent lonely night. By this time it was near sunset and I hastened across the common to the road and set off for Bonaventure delighted with my choice and almost glad to find that necessity had furnished me with so good an excuse for doing what I knew my mother would censure, for she made me promise I was not lie out of doors if I could possibly avoid it. The sun was set ere I was past the negro huts and rice fields, and I arrived near the graves and oaks in the silent hour of gloaming. I was very thirsty and managed to push down through the bushes to a little stream that feels its way past the entrance of the graveyard. Not a breath of air moved the grey moss; the great black arms of the avenue trees met each other overhead and covered the avenue like a sky. I wandered aimlessly on, forgetful of cares and fears, overwhelmed with the noble grandeur and impressiveness of the place. All the avenue where I walked was in shadow, but an exposed tombstone frequently shone out in startling whiteness on either hand and thickets of sparkle-berry bushes gleamed like heaps of crystals and the canopy overhead was fissured by many a netted seam and leafy edges opening through which leaked the moonlight in auroral rays All hushed

Date Original

July 1867


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