fifteen or twenty leaves arching equally and evenly all around, each leaf about ten feet in length – the blade four feet, the stalk six. The leaves are channeled like half open fans, and are highly polished, so that they reflect the sunlight like glass. The undeveloped leaves on top stand erect closely folded. Altogether forming a noble crown over which tropic light is poured and reflected from its slanting mirrors in sparks and splinters and long-rayed stars. Well, I am now in the hot gardens of the sun where grows the Palm, longed and prayed for and often visited in dreams, and though lonely tonight in this multitude of strange plants, strange winds blowing gently, whispering, cooing in a language I never learned, and strange birds – everything solid or spiritual full of influences that I never before felt. But I thank the Lord with all my heart for his goodness in granting me admittance to this magnificent realm. 46th. Last evening when I was in trackless woods, the great mysterious night becoming more mysterious in the thickening darkness, I gave up hopes of finding food or a house-bed and searched only for a dry spot to sleep, safely hidden from wild runaway negroes. I walked rapidly for hours in the wet level woods. Not a foot of dry ground could I find. Hollow voiced owls spoke without intermission. All manner of night sounds came from strange insects and beasts, one by one, or crowded together. All had a home, but I, Jacob on the dry plains of Padanaram with a stone pillow must have been comparatively happy. When I came to an open place where pines grew it was about ten o’clock
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