corona, wh [which] shone like a halo….it kept smounderling & shifting just as if a gale in the upper strata of the atmosphere were [playing] the bellows to it. Presently fresh streamers shot out of the darkness outside the inner halo, followed by other bright shafts of light in a still wider circle, & meanwhile the dark space in the middle was clearly visible; at other times it was covered with masses of light Then it appeared as if the storm abated, & the whole turned pale & glowed with a faint whitish hue for a little while, only to shoot wildly up once more & to begin the same dance over again. Then the whole mass of light around the corona began to rock to & fro in
large waves over the Zen [zenith] & the dark central point, where upon the gale seemed to increase & whirl the streamers into an inextricable tangle till they merged into a luminous vapor that enveloped the corona & drowned it in a deluge of light, so that neither it nor the streamers nor the dark centre could be seen, nothing in fact but a chaos of shining mist. Again it became paler & I went below At midnight there was hardly anything of the Ar [aurora] to be seen”
Nov. 11 The N.rn [northern] lights with their eternally shifting loveliness flame over the heavens each day & each night wreathe the whole vault of heaven with their glittering fleeting light surpassing all else in their wild loveliness.
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist