Louie Strentzel Muir
Annie L Muir
Portage, Wis. Mch. 1-99 My Dear Sister Louie, Recent letters have told of your very severe illness & John’s last one to Sarah, of your convalescence, I am very glad to know that you have so far recovered as to be able to out of doors again and over to see Maggie. Be thankful that you have so very beautiful & pleasant a country to saunter out in during these days of weakness & weariness. Even I, who have been there, can hardly realize that the orchard trees are growing & the hills & valleys green & spring like. The ground here is covered with snow. Two boys pass the window just now as I write stretched out full length face downward on their sleds riding down the hill enjoying themselves immensely. The temperature is very comfortable today about 32 [degrees] above beginning [ ] & the sky is bright. We have had sleighing for nearly a week. The first this winter. A light covering of snow has lain on the ground nearly all winter. But only an inch or two most of the time not enough for sleighing [on] for protection. I fear that many plants & shrubs will be killed by that three weeks of zero weather. I do not remember when the temperature ever was so low for so long a time, continuously from 5 [degrees] to 32 [degrees] below every morning for 18 days, without an exception. [ ] It usually arose to zero or above about the middle of the day but not always. One day it was 12 [degrees] below at noon. And as the frost got more & more with the houses it was hard to keep things from freezing inside. Many bushels of potatoes were frozen in cellars. By keeping fires going all night & covering my plants with newspapers [&] [ ]. I saved them all but they don’t look very well. Through it all, the little sparrows kept up this chirping & few about the street looking for something to eat. I noticed that they tried to find sunny places & often fluffed out their feathers & sat down on their little feet to keep them warm. In a few days after the zero weather had passed, the snow began to melt in sunny places making little pools of water. And the sparrows at Once began taking bathes. I watched one little fellow at it. It was so cold that he rather shrank from it. But he just ventured in a little ways at the first then dipped his bill a few times. Then threw it over himself. [more] & [more] & finally he ventured boldly & took a good thorough splashing & then flew chirping gaily away to a sunny place to dry. A lady two blocks back of us has a hummingbird in her house. It is free to go all over the house. From the dining room to the parlor & bedroom. Any where he goes humming about as happy & as much at home as a fly. She keeps two little dishes on the dining room table for him. One containing honey & the other water. To those he goes every little while, takes a little sip from one or the other & is gone again. He was found las summer stunned And unconscious from some unknown cause. She wanted him back to life & when he was well left the door open for him to go out. But he refused to go & so she has had him all winter. She says that when summer comes again she will open the doors freely & give him his freedom to go or stay at his own sweet will. Our Blue Jays are keeping very quiet lately; perhaps their sharp tempers have been subdued by the frost. I had a long letter from Mary lately for a wonder. She thinks it was harder to keep warm there than here, during the cold time. And perhaps it was with their high winds & lack of [protecting] trees. She says that she sat at his easel, some days, with a hot flat iron at her feet. Think of it! Well what a joy our beautiful Springtime will be in contrast with such weather. I am glad of the law of Compensations. With the exception of that extraordinary time the winter has passed very comfortably. I have enjoyed it & been happy on the whole & thankful. Realizing that a kind, wise & loving hand was caring for & guiding us & that All things work together for good to those who walk uprightly. To see that I walked uprightly was my part to look after & be guarded about. God will take care of the rest. I enclose a clipping from our daily paper which will tell you that we had to loose our Pastor Rev. Adam Fawcett. He has made influence for good & against evil to be felt throughout the city & community, and for out with The county. Has made many friends & won the ill will of evil doers. So that while his going is regretted by good people, the Saloon men & Evil doers [generally] will rejoice. For he was always outspoken & aggressive in his work. Perhaps he had done well he could here, for the present and if he will now be more useful elsewhere we must be content. I see [Ida] Thayer occasionally. Not very often. She lives very quietly & her work seems to be in a different direction from mine. Well [Louie] I hope this long rambling letter will entertain you for a little while. I wish I was near enough to come in & cheer you up a little. I wish I could do some Thing to comfort & help you in your sickness as you so many times did for me in mine, years ago. I would dearly love to make some returns to you, for your many kindnesses to me in my time of sickness, [weariness], & irritability. I wish I could blot some of that last elements its results out. As I believe God has for I have sincerely repented of it. Please give my love to John, the children & any of the others whom you may see. I wish I might have a letter from some of you soon. Lovingly your sister Annie L. Muir
Original letter dimensions unknown.
Muir, Annie L., "Letter from Annie L Muir to Mrs. Muir [Louie Strentzel Muir], 1899 Mar 1" (1899). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 6741.
1899 Mar 1 Annie L Muir to Louie
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Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters