John Muir


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Nov. 28—The Nor [Northern] Lights flashing in matchless power & beauty over the sky in all the colors of the rainbow seldom or never have I seen the colors so brilliant. The prevailing one at first was yellow, but that flickered over into green, & then a sparkling ruby-red began to show at the bottom of the rays on the underside of the arch, soon spreading over the whole arch. And now from the faraway W’tern horizon a fiery serpent writhed itself up over the sky shining brighter & brighter as it came. It split into 3, all brilliantly glittering. Then the colors changed the serpent to the S. turned almost ruby-red with spots of yel., the one in the middle yel. & the one to the N greenish white. Sheaves of rays swept along the side of the serpents, driven thru the ether-like

waves before a storm wind They sway backward & forward, now strong, now fainter again. The serpents reached & passed the zenith…I could not tear myself away till the spectacle was over…Later the masses of light had passed N.ward & spread themselves in incomplete arches over the Northern sky” Dec. 5. Glittering arches the whole vault of the sky from E to W. “Dec. 11th At 10 o’clock a faint ar bor [aurora borealis] in the southern sky. During the next ½ hour there was constant aurora chiefly in bands across or near the Zenith…At the time that the broad shining arch thru the zenith was at its highest intensity the cumulous clds [clouds] in the N.W. shone quite white” Dec. 31, the Ar Bor [aurora borealis] is burning in wonderful colors & bands of light over the whole sky but particularly in the N.

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Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist