John Muir


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down to the [smooth] spacious levels however richly [they may be] mantled with sunshine & flowers [& light]. But wild places are [not] no [ ] easily found by busy people. Wildness is being rapidly rubbed off the continent in most accessible places & Alaska may well be prized as the [noblest] & most enduring of all the wilds of the world accessible to ordinary tourists. Oftentimes on some beautiful glacier meadow of the Sierra I have been so charmed that I would have been willing to be tethered to a stake there forever like a horse at pasture with only bread to eat & without hopes of seeing a single human being, content with the company earthly or heavenly that might come to me there & to revel in the perfect beauty about me through all the seasons. So also in [glorious] abounding exuberance of the tropics we would abide forever were we not dragged & driven [& pulled away] by the same mysterious forces that send birds & animals on their travels. [While on the other hand] the polar regions too are so enchantingly beautiful we would gladly stay there also to enjoy the huge round nightless days of summer [sunful and nightless] like heaven the mysterious shining ocean of ice, the boundless tundras covered with bloom & throbbing with [warm] hot glad life [in endless abundance] & the one huge [silent] hushed [serene] night of winter with its stars & snow crystals & auroras one mass of celestial radiance [shining in space] serene & silent. Easy then it is to believe our world is a star, for it looks like one as bright & as silent as any of its neighbors.


Sauntering in any wilderness is delightful through woods, rocks, bogs, plains & deserts & green shaggy meadows [&] over fields of snow & the crisp crystal prairies of the glaciers, drifting like thistledown responsive to every breeze of influence [however fine] that chances to touch us. Most of the ones shorter walks are of this kind, a drift on currents gentle & invisible bearing us we know not whither but in all my long excursions there was some main object in view, a mountain, lake, belt of woods, a canyon, or glacier etc. towards which my steps were bent by a course direct or wavering. When we are with nature we are awake & we discover many interesting things & reach many a mark we were not aiming at, some new flower or bird or waterfall comes to our eyes & we gladly step aside to study it. Or some tree of surpassing beauty attracts our attention or some grove though the species may be well known, or we come upon a specimen that has been [riven] & scattered by lightening [lightning] stroke, or bent into an arch by snow, or one of many over which an avalanche has passed. Or we come upon the wild inhabitants of the region a bear at breakfast beneath [the] nut-bearing trees or in the thickets of berry bushes, or deer feeding among the chaparral or squirrels & marmots at work or play. Going slowly stopping often to look & listen. Birds [too] come forward & sing for

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MuirReel33 Notebook02 Img004.jpg

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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