July 1867 - February 1868, The "thousand mile walk" from Kentucky to Florida and Cuba Image 76
quarrelling or making sport and occasionally finding a stray mouthful to eat, some stand on the mangroves of a solitary shore, now and then leaping into the water after a fish, and some go long journeys inland, up the creeks and inlets. A few lonely old persons of solemn look and wing retire to favorite shady oaks. It was my delight to watch those old white sages of immaculate feather as they stood erect drowsing away in leafy recesses curtained by long skeins of Tillandsia the dull hours to tides. White bearded hermits gazing dreamily from dark caves could not appear more solemn or more becomingly shrouded from the rest of their fellow-beings. One of the characteristic plants of these Keys is a species of Yucca, about eight or ten feet in height and with trunk three or four inches in diameter, when full grown. It belongs to the lily family and develops palm-like from terminal buds. The leaves are very rigid, sharp pointed, and bayonet-like. A man might be as satisfactorily stabbed by one of these leaves, as by a bayonet, and woe to the luckless wanderer who dares to urge his way in these armed gardens after dark. Vegetable cats of many species will rob him of his clothes and claw his flesh, while dwarf saw palmettos will saw his bones and the bayonets will glide
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist