James Davie Butler
[5?] Martinez, California
July 20, 1904.
Dear James Davie Butler,
In all my life , now growing long, no other psychological X ray has proved so strong as that shot from yourself as you entered Yosemite 35 years ago, which, as you know, suddenly awakened me from contemplation of the landscape on the top of North Dome & pulled me down to you over rocks & brush by a way I knew not. This to me is still a prime marvel; but I do not marvel that you still walk the earth. For with temperance & tough, inherited strength however hard you have worked & however often you have had to wipe hot sweat from your brow, as you were doing when I found you at Liberty Cap Rock,- your work has been not the killing but the preserving kind, while
your soul has always soared high in a clean, healthy sky. And how blest you have been with wife & children. Strange that none of the children has yet set foot in California, though you have been so great a traveler.
I have been away more than a year on a long, crooked trip around the world & have seen a little of many countries - The park & gardens (&) art galleries of Europe - broad, fertile Russia - the Crimea, (&) grand forests & glaciers (&) snowy peaks of the Caucasus; The wide, billowy, densely forested Ural mountains, the vast, fertile levels, plains & woods of Siberia; beautiful Manchuria with its charming hills & dales & l[illegible], richly wooded mountains, endless wheat & millet fields great rivers & plains;- Picturesque Japan - the mountainous island-dotted coast of China; the loftiest ice laden summits of the Himalaya & the Deodar forests & rivers, & the swarming cities at their feet temples, etc.; Old Egypt & its one green valley stretching
between hot, tawny deserts, & its stupendous monuments of auld lang syne; Balmy, palmy Ceylon, wonderful & beautiful; Australia & New Zealand where people, animals, plants & rocks all are strange & novel to me, The gloriously beautiful Malay Archipelago, the Philippines, etc. How I wish you had been with me! This sketch, however slight, will, I hope, help you to recall some of your own wide, round-the-world wanderings.
"In a camp last year near the brink of the south Yosemite Wall, just opposite the North Dome, I asked the President if he remembered the fine prophetic send-off you gave him in introducing him to a Madison audience. He remembered it very well & seemed gladly interested."
Then I told him the story of our faithful correspondence & how I found you in the valley long eventful years ago.
"Looking across our grand continent into the Madison lan-syne,- How clearly you all come in sight[!?] Yourself, your wife, James, Anna, little Henry, & Agnes also, though I did not come to know her until she was in full girl bloom reading Greek. Give them my love & tell them to come & see me.
[illegible]That I may see you again ere long, & that you may live a full century at least, bearing the big years like a noble sequoia, I devoutly hope & pray.
Ever your friend,
1904 Jul 20
Original letter dimensions unknown.
Muir, John, "Letter from John Muir to James Davie Butler, 1904 Jul 20." (1904). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 2836.
Reel 14, Image 0418
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