John Muir


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He came to the brink & looked in & traced with eager eye the narrow bridge, a long long look he gave it hushed & meditative in pure death & life concentration, then lay down in despair declaring the thing impossible

Then at last with hushed care holding his breath he crouched [lay] down on his belly as if anxious to get the advantage of the hold back friction of every hair

Poor little boy, now some angel helps him hold these [he] little feet that they may not slip

But though small he was not no one would take him for a silly lap-midget by any means. Though he lacked the spriteliness of small dogs, bull headed in obstinacy takes up his small enterprises with sage dignity of a St Bernard, a stiff reserved humor queer in a [little] fellow so small an animal

So much mind hidden in a wisp of hair

He always seemed laden with a certain gravity & discretion mixed with solemn whims that piqued curiosity & so I kept my eye on him. But I could not see into him. He remained [cloudy and] obscure like a cloudy landscape until this grand clearing up day on the great glacier. Now soul & body of him to the end of every hair were revealed & shone there on the brink of that awful gulf of death like a flame


of fire that could not be hid

Will Stick know the sounds of the wilderness in day & night hooting owls in the woods & the [wolves] hungry long drawn out howling of [long] the [drawn out] black & gray wolves. The sighing moaning winds & the plunge of the cataracts & ice bergs wet flood morning, [&] in a weary rocky icy land

The gods had not been kind to him in size & feature

I could tell here how much this icy day did for me in widening & defining my view of the world & all its people great & small whatever their shape & number of feet. I saw then & felt sure that all Gods creatures on earth are one. That the sun rose & shone & the moon & stars for all of us alike not simply as a speculative hope or guess but in very fact

I never in all my experience saw a dog with a steadier head but this trial was too heavy for him

I could not make out his years, for all his looks & behavior told me he might be [a] half baby [or] mid aged or [an] grimly old

One could see his troubled mind as if he were ice with sunshine streaming through him

Strange how trouble concentrates. Of all the dogs trotting the earth this dog only Stick was real, & how unforgettable he was & how widely he threw his gates ajar that separate us from the animal kingdom

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MuirReel33 Notebook01 Img040.Jpeg

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