40 The forests along her base were opaque & black but the snow sheeted meadows were white as the moon herself When I awoke my canopy of oak was glistening in [first] sunlight more silvery than [usual] by being filtered through a [ ] cld [cloud] [Heaving] clouds began to form with bosses atop that burned yellow & red. Cld [cloud] mtns [mountains] over Tis [Tissiack] like grand island had glorious effect. Now color disappeared. The heavy [cumulus] [gave] place to fleecy edged sheets of darker texture in the middle wh [which] sailing past intercepted [shut off the] our sunbeams then allowed them to fall free Thus at intervals of a minute, now shadowy now blazing in pulses, a pulse of shadow, a pulse of light. A blessed season, the days all sunful the nights all
41 moonful. Light of both the day & the night the very spirit essence of Light & [instead] of pouring into the valley to be absorbed in groves & grassy meadows & gray walls like a river absorbed in sand or only reflected on glossy leaves of live oak or needles of pine or scanty strip of unshaded [river], it breaks reaches in wide [solid] sheeted spangles on a thousand wet mirror rocks & is beaten to a foam of reflected light among the crystal [garments] carpets of the snow My first camp near the head of the falls was glorious in sounds for not only was the lower fall near with its but the up [upper] fall also I [sensed] to be deepest tones but the hush in the channel of its sounds all the [rapids] between (its song flow off in [swinging] cascading currents like its waters in definite [channels])
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist