John Muir


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us & display their pretty housekeeping, etc. All these & a thousand other unwriteable attractions enrich our walks [beyond the attainment of] on our ways to the main object of our studies & make our [paths] tracks inconceivably crooked & charming. It is as if nature were saying “The way is long & rough & the poor fellow is weary [& lonesome]. Birds sing him a song. Squirrels show him your pretty ways. Flowers beguile the steep ascent [with your beauty] Sparkle & bloom & shine ye lakes & streams & wave & [chant] & shimmer in the sunlight all ye pines & firs, that the wanderer faint not by the way.

And thus we find in the fields of Nature no place that is blank or barren. Every spot on land or sea is covered with harvests & these harvests are always ripe & ready to be gathered & no toiler is ever under paid. Not in these fields. God’s wilds. Will you ever hear the sad moan of disappointment of the wise man with so many women to mind “All is vanity”. No! we are overpaid a thousand times for all our toil [&] A single day in [so divine an atmosphere of beauty & love] any of God’s wildernesses would be well worth living for & at its close should death come, without any hope of another life we would still say as we passed on “Thank You God for the glorious gift” [& pass on]. Indeed some of the


days I have spent along in the depths of the wilderness have shown me that immortal life beyond the grave is not essential to perfect happiness right here for these diverse days were so complete they set one free from all [was no] sense of time [in them they] had no definite beginning or ending & formed a kind of terrestrial immortality. [After] With grateful hearts for days like these we are ready for any fate. Pain grief death or oblivion [with grateful heart for the glorious gift] as long as [hearts] life [shall] endures. In the meantime our indebtedness [is] growing ever more greater. The sun continues to shine[s] & the stars & [new] beauty meets us at every step [in all our wanderings]

In this Alaska excursion my eye was fixed on the glaciers of Glacier Bay. I had visited them in a canoe twice before this in the years 1879 & 80. Before they were known to the world or the bay into which they discharge was on the charts. But up to the time of this last visit I had seen but little of their sources & I was eager to make my way back into the mountains where their [countless] tributaries take their rise to see what I might learn. I wished also to measure the speed of the flow of the largest of them [one, the Muir], & count the icebergs discharged in a [given] time & to study the fossil forests – many interesting vestiges of which are displayed

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MuirReel33 Notebook02 Img005.jpg

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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