John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



[are these mountains of cloud breeding lightning & rain & blessing every eye with their wild beauty & every living thing beneath them [leaf] with life-giving showers. They seem so firm one is tempted to [would] try to climb them [walk about on them if they were low enough to catch hold of on the lower foothills were accessible slopes.] Never in all my travels have I [ever found anything more truly novel & interesting [to me & more remarkable than these] fine tones [of col] than these midday mountains of the air [clouds] Their majestic & visible growth [sublime] & ever changing [moulding] scenery & general effects [are marvelous] though mostly as well let alone as far as description goes. [Non available, uncatchable like rainbows that cannot be gathered & taken into our homes, so these cannot be gathered into words, made into literature. No matter, fortunately. Why should we fancy ourselves compelled to [like children try to put everything into our playboxes of books] make a pass with pen or tongue as every thing in earth & heaven? “Keep silence all Ye sons of men.” Do not at any rate try to patronize Nature with poor word play, rejoice and


[admire & revere & be thankful.] I often think of Shelley’s cloud poem “I sift the snow on the mountains below”

July 26th [When I was as unfamiliar as any tourist] Delightful ramble [today] to the summit of Mt. Hoffmann [about seven miles NE of camp and] radiant landscapes I have seen. [in my life’s ramble. And] Many [new] plants new to me I have found [& two new] three of them trees. Two pines & a hemlock (pinus Monticola) closely related to the Sugar Pine P. albucaulis, the dwarf timber line tree & tsuga Mertensiana.

[sketch: Summit of Mt Hoffmann]

& a glorious multitudes of far higher than Hoffmann towering in awful severe majesty new landscapes of [new] mountains snow laden sun [ ] along the axis of the Range. Vast domes & ridges shine below them forests, lakes meadows in the hollows serene blue sky dome over all [most overladen beauty grandeur & richness of sculpture. A memorable day of admission into a new [world] realm as if Nature had said “Come higher up” What questions I asked, [& how feeble I seemed & how little I know of all the vast [new] show & how eagerly tremulously hopeful of someday [little my hopes of ever] knowing [much] more [of] learning the meaning of these divine symbols crowded together on this wondrous page

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook07 Img061.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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