John Muir


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A level ground of grasses and sedges, all smooth as a prairie and well starred with flowers and bounded, clearing-like, by a wall of vine-laded trees. The palms had full possession and appeared to enjoy their sunny home. There was no jostling of each other, no efforts to outgrow each other. Abundance of light for every crown and plenty to fall between. I walked enchanted in their midst. What a landscape – only palms as far as they eye could reach. Smooth pillars rising from the grass, each capped with a sphere of leaves shining in the sun, bright as a star. The silence and calm were as deep as ever I found in the dark solemn pine woods of Canada, and that contentment which is an attribute of all God’s plant people was as impressively felt in this alligator wilderness as in the home of the happy healthy people of the north. The admirable Linnaeus calls palms the princes of the vegetable world. I know that there is grandeur, nobility in their character and that there are palms nobler far than these, but in rank they are to me far below the oak and the pine. The motions of the palms, their gestures are not very graceful, and they appear to best advantage when perfectly motionless in the noontide calm and intensity of light. But they rustle and rock in the evening winds. I have seen grasses wave with far more dignity, and our northern pines, aspiring to the clouds, waving and bowing in sign of worship with the winter storm winds. Where is the prince of palms that could have the conscience to demand their homage? The members of this palm congregation were of all sizes with respect to their signs, but their glorious crowns were all alike. In development there is but the terminal

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