John Muir


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Circa Date

circa 1887



[fall &] flow from the snowy peaks overhead at first only a gentle breathing then gaining strength [like a mountain stream] in less than an hour it surged & rumbled [began to] [in rough] in massive volume like something a boisterous stream [in flood among] [booming Cascade in rough steep rocks] in a boulder chocked channel [in rough steep rocks] & at length went roaring [booming] & moaning down the canyon as if the work it had to do was tremendously important & fateful & mingled with these (loud) storm [thunder] tones [of the wind] were those of a waterfall on the N [north] side of the canyon now sounding distinctly, now smothered by the heavier cataracts of air, making a glorious psalm of [pure] savage wildness. Though in a sheltered nook [ever & anon a] [occasionally] detached masses of icy wind cold [air] [blows/flows] often plump like an iceberg on top of it [my fire] scattering sparks & coals [in splashes like the exploding masses of spray at the foot of a waterfall &] so that I had to keep well back to avoid being burned. My fire squirmed & struggled as if ill at ease for but the big rosing roots & knots [& dry limbs] of the dwarf pine could not neither be [blown out & the main big chunks could not be blown away] beaten out or be blown away & [the flappening growling twisted] flames now rushing up in long [lines] now flattened & twisted in the rocky ground [ground] & [roared] as if trying to tell the storm stories of the trees they belonged to as the light given out told me the story of the sunshine gathered centuries ago. A fine companion hardy & brave telling many a story of storm & stress of dark winters & bright summers. The stars shone clear in the [narrow] strip of sky between the huge black rocks & as I lay recalling the


lessons [gains] of the day [I felt] feeling at times as I became drowsy an uncomfortable nearness to the furred Mono Indians. While trying to sleep in the midst of this stormy uproar of the winds & waters suddenly the full round moon looked down over the jagged canyon wall her face apparently filled with eager concern which had a startling effect as if she had left her place in the sky & had come down to gaze on me alone like a person entering ones bedroom – a glorious visitor granting a private interview, the most impressive company I ever was blessed with. It was hard to realize that she was in her place [so high] in the sky & was looking abroad on half the globe, land & sea mountains plains [cities] lakes rivers oceans ships cities with their myriads of inhabitants sleeping & waking sick & well dying & being born. No she seemed to be just on the rim of Blood Canyon & looking only at me. I remember watching the harvest moon rising above the oak trees in Wisconsin apparently as big as a cart wheel & not farther than a half a mile distant (and again wading & plunging through [a] swift-driven [wracks of] clouds). With these exceptions I might say I never before had seen the moon, & this night she seemed so full of life & so near the effect was marvelously impressive & made me forget the Indians, which at times seemed uncomfortably near the great black rocks [towering] above me

Date Occurred


Resource Identifier

MuirReel31 Notebook 009 Img035.jpg

Contributing Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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