76 many of four or five miles The up [upper] fall possesses far the richest as well as most powerful voice of all the valley falls tones varying from the sharp rustle of wind [stirred] in the glossy hard leaves of live oak, Soft sifted hushes in the pines to loudest rush & roar [of Mtn [mountain] top forest] of storm winds in a mtn [mountain] top forest, among [in] the rocks & pines of a mtn [mountain] top. All of these tones are blended to [divine] [harmonies] & are in such fullness & abundance as we might expect When we know the [richness] of the music field from whence the waters gleaned them There are other sounds interharmonized with these that are of a very different kind Such as our stream never uttered in its younger days back on the mtn [mountain] they are like sounds of thunder or falling of enormous blocks of rock. These are formed by heavy masses of water striking full upon a projecting rock I have watched the fall in every stage
77 of water & I know that these exploding thundering rocky notes are never produced when the stream is so low as to be dissipated into whirling clouds & spattering rain torrents before reaching the two flat [topped] projecting rocks project from the face of the wall. The highest is about 1000 ft below top of fall the lowest 1200. Again I have watched the fall during wind storms when the [heavy] solid headed comets of water were [heavy] [snowy] to shoot below these rocks & after [having] [being] swayed clear of the rocks I have seen a single unconfused comet strike full upon [one] of these tables & produce the thunder tone in question the high up ward rebound of spray showing that considerable quantities of air were caught & entangled in the water wh [which] doubtless gives those rocky thuds their peculiar explosive ness. When the water is high these [various] exploding & sharp kissing sounds cannot be well studied because
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist