John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



[and singing birds to mingle their voices with the rejoicing songs of the water]

One of these ancient flood bowlders stands firm in the middle of the stream channel just below the lower edge of the pool dam at the foot of [one of] the fall[s] nearest our camp. It is a nearly cubical mass of granite about 8 feet high [densely] plushed with [bright yellow-green] mosses over the top & down [all the four] the sides to ordinary high water mark [& one day when the sheep allowed a little quiet rambling I [climbed on] made out to reach the top [I got on top of it today] [of the bowlder] by [a leaning] [means of a pole set against the side. Then I] When I climbed on top of it today, I lay down to rest [and] it seems the [most charming] [coolest] & most [delightful &] romantic spot I had yet found [discovered

There was] the one big stone with its mossy level top standing square & firm & solitary like an altar [for this sacred nook the white bouncing foaming waterfall in] the fall in front of it bathing it lightly with the finest dust of the spray just enough to keep its moss cover fresh [green] the clear green pool beneath with its foambells [& lilies of that big species described a few days ago] and its half circle of lilies leaning


forward like a band of admirers, [tufts of carex [about their feet][with fine arching leaves] & shade [of] flowering dogwood an alder trees [alders] leaning over all in [fine] sun-sifted arches. How [delightfully] soothingly restfully cool it was [as I lay dreamy & at ease on the moss] beneath that leafy translucent ceiling [sky], & how delightful the water music [of the water], the deep [bass] [tones, low] bass tones of the fall [itself & the] clashing ringing [of coarse] spray & [the] infinite variety of small low tones of the current gliding past the sides of the bowlder island [& kissing] & glinting against a thousand smaller stones down the ferny channel. [And] All this shut in, every one of these fine influences acting at short range [with the attention admiringly fixed] as if [contained] in a quiet room, [safe from any disturbing commonplace sight or sound.] The place seemed [perfectly] holy where one might humbly hope to see God.

After dark when the camp was at rest I groped my way back to the great altar boulder and passed the night on it above the waters, beneath the leaves and stars [while] everything still more impressive than by day, the full seen dimly white without visible motion telling with awful enthusiasm Nature’s old ever new love story.

One lovely still night warm & starry I found my way down through the shadows of the woods about the camp to this mossy altar rest guided by the sound of the fall & here passed the night. How perfectly divine a chamber it is]

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook05 Img042.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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