John Muir


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planted sparsely and pretty evenly on these sandy flats not long risen from the sea. Scarce a specimen of any other tree is to be found associated with the pines, but there are some thickets of the little saw palmetto and a magnificent assemblage of tall grasses, their splendid panicles waving grandly in the warm wind and making tuneful changes in the glistening light that is flashed from their bent stems. Not a pine, not a palm in all this garden excels these stately grass plants in beauty of wind-waving gestures. Here are panicles one mass of the most refined purple, and stems polished and shining like steel wire, and some flowers as yellow as ripe oranges. Some species grouped in groves and thickets like trees, others waving without any companions within touch. Some species wave broad branching panicles like a Kentucky oak, others with only a few tassels of spikelets drooping from a tall leafless stem, and all are beautiful above language. I rejoice that ‘God has so clothed all the grass of the field.’ How strangely we are blinded to beauty in color, form, and motion by comparative size. For example, we measure grasses by our own statue and the height hand bulkiness of trees, but what is the size of the greatest man of the tallest tree that ever overtopped a grass. Compared with the other things in God’s creation the difference is nothing. We are only microscopic animalcula. 48th. Walk on land that is almost dry, the dead leaves are interrupted here and there by sandy waves a few feet in height. It is said that not a point in Florida is more than 300 feet above the sea level,

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