Florida. Since the commencement of my floral pilgrimage I have seen much that is not only new, but that is altogether unallied, unacquainted with the plants of my former life. I have seen Magnolias, the Tillandsia, tupelo oak, Kentucky oak, the long-leafed pine, the Schrankia, and the palmetto—whole forests of strange trees, and vine-tied groves of blooming shrubs, whole meadowfuls of resplendent grasses and lakefuls of lilies, all unknown to me. Yet I still pressed eagerly upon Florida as a peculiar special home of the beings I was looking for, and I was not disappointed. It was on my 45th day of travel that I at last reached Florida, the so-called land of flowers, that I had so long waited for, and wondered if at last my longings and prayers would be in vain and I should die without a glimpse of the flowery Canaan. But here it is at the distance of a few yards, -- a flat and watery reedy coast with clumps of mangrove and forests of mixed and moss-draped strange trees appearing low in the distance. The steamer finds her way through the reedy islets like a duck, and I step upon a rickety wharf. A few steps takes me to a rickety town, Fernandina. I discover a baker, buy some bread, and without asking a single question make for the shady gloomy groves. In visiting Florida in dreams of either day or night I always came suddenly upon a close forest of trees every one in flower and bent down and entangled to network by luxuriant, bright-blooming vines, and over all a flood of bright sunlight. But such was not the gate by which I entered the promised land. Salt-marshes, belonging more to sea than to land, with groves here and there, green and unflowered, sunk to the shoulders in sedges and rushes, with trees farther back ill-defined in their boundaries, and instead of rising in hill wavings and swellings, stretching inland in low
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist