John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



[to be easily caught in description] but hopelessly unsketchable & untellable. What can poor [silly] mortals [a person] say about clouds? While a descriptions of their huge glowing domes & ridges, shadowy gulfs & canyons & [soft] feather edged ravines is being tried [domes & ridges of pearl & alabaster is being written they] they vanish leaving no visible ruins [Nevertheless] [and yet] Nevertheless these fleeting sky mountains [are these majestic] [ranges of the sky] are as substantial & significant as the more lasting upheaval of granite beneath them both alike built up in glorious beauty & die & in God’s calendar difference of duration is nothing. [these land billows rise & fall & vanish like clouds only less rapidly & the difference in time of duration in the all seeing eye of God] [divine calendar is nothing] [with whom] a thousand years is one day & one day a thousand years, [is nothing. Even the mountains with their wealth of architecture forms & their life [of tree & flower] with lavish color & beauty [& living [creatures]] [of form & bears, deer, & squirrels busy about their home affairs amid all this wealth, rushing rivers lakes garden meadows groves & thousand thousand inhabitants, in speaking or writing about their soon [in speaking or writing] reach the limit of our tether [ropes] & can add nothing significant [that one cares to hear. All that we in our souls feel & know to be the best of the landscape cannot be]


[caught in words & we are left lost engulphed in adoring wonder] We can only dream about them in wondering worshiping adoration happier than we dare [try to] tell even to [our best & dearest] friends who[se] love-illuminated eyes] see farthest in sympathy glad to know that not a crystal or vapor particle of them hard or soft is lost, that they sink & vanish only to rise again & again in higher & higher beauty. As to our own work duty influence etc concerning which so much fussy bother is made it. [Aye so be it. It matters not for we yet enjoy a thousand fold more than words can measure out. & the fountains of God’s beauty fail never, the cloudlands pass away & the rocklands beneath them pass on by but [they pass away] only to appear again & again in yet higher forms beauty to fill the [love] eyes of coming spectators [seers, God’s] Nature’s fountains never run dry & we need fear nothing for the welfare of those coming to the earth table after us though we should die [make no sign] like grass in the undiscovered hollows & make no sign. Much we hear of duty & the work appointed us to do (but how) blindly [conceitedly] overestimating is the influence of feeble [our utmost] bother [in the course of duty. Our influence whatever it be] will not fail of its due effect though like a lichen on a stone we keep silent[& out of sight]

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook07 Img057.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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