John Muir


image preview

Circa Date

circa 1887



[The plants] Most of these meadows are now in their prime, [most of them in full flower]. How wonderful must be the temper of the elastic leaves of [the] grasses & sedges to make curves so perfect & fine [curves]. Tempered a little harder [and] they would stand erect [wiry and] stiff & bristly like strips of metal [tin], a little softer & every leaf would lie [fall] flat [& dead like]. & what fine painting & tinting there is on the [petals, the] glumes & pales, anther & stamens & feathery pistils. [The various colors how finely blended pure & clean as [rised] water]. Butterflies colored like the flowers [throbbed/throbbing] & wavered, numbered & known & loved only by the Lord & perhaps some of His best angels. Beautiful winged people are waltzing together high overhead & many other winged [s] [dancing] seemingly in pure play & hilarious enjoyment of their little sparks of life. How wonderful they are [are the meeting places of] [centers of life to most of the small winged[s] [people]. [How] What wonderful [the power] that invented these little flying machines. Man’s grandest mechanical triumphs compared with them are as nothing. [are] [and keeps them in repair & in motion!] [Aye wonderful. All All is [nuptery] & our ignorance makes our knowledge seem nothing.] Most of the dry sandy gardens on mountains & ridges [I found today] are in prime beauty like the meadows though some on the north sides of rocks & ridges[& banks and] beneath groves of sapling pines[& firs] have not yet bloomed. I saw extensive patches of ivesia & purple gilia with scarce a green leaf on sunny sheets of crystal soil along the slopes of the Hoffmann mountains making fine [thin] clouds of color [rich yellow like]


[condensed sunshine, & gilia gardens on soil composed mostly of crystals & mica & feldspar crystals millions of a small purple species gilias with scarce a green leaf, forming a thin haze of color not visible at a distance of a few hundred yards] Huckleberry & kalmia[& azalea] are abundant along the [meadow] edges of the streams & a few ribes bushes now in flower & well armed with pickles & shaggy beds of dwarf oak (Quercus Chrysolepis) [Q. crysolepis] var. vaccinifolia over which one may [can] walk, yet this is the same species as the large live oak [first] seen near Brown’s Flat [which at the bottom of Yosemite Valley] which attains a height of 50 feet or more & eight feet in diameter of sturdy gnarled trunk [of 8 feet]. A striking example of the [varying power of the] variation due to [So great a variation due to] climate. The most beautiful of [all] the shrubs is the purple flowered bryanthus [& cassiope with pale pink & purple flowers the former quite abundant] here making delightful carpets at an elevation of 9000 feet. The principal trees for the first mile or two from[our] camp about 8000 above sea level [are] is the magnificent [lovely] silver fir which reaches perfection here both in [the] size & form of individual trees & in the mode of grouping in groves with open spaces between. So trim & tasteful are these silvery spirey groves [appear] one would fancy they must have been placed in position by some master of landscape gardening, their regularity seeming almost conventional. But [the work]

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook07 Img071.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.