To my friend R. U. Johnson.
"Nature loves the number five" Four conundrums & a doggerel
1 Why is R. U. J's Kindness like a grasshopper? Because it makes the earth beautiful and few know how it is done
2 Why is it like a star? Because it is steadfast and ever in bloom
3 Why is it like the ocean? Because it is boundless, endless, & sublime
4 Why is it like a glacier? Because nothing can stop it and it discharges in big chunks
O for a lodge in some vast frigeration, some boundless contiguity of frost some boreal prarie Icy, Airy, Where sultry heat from old Manhattan's shore might never reach me more
O to escape this torrid tedium Gathering Thoreau's [illegible] Over more a blessed crank & tramp On Walden's leafy bank. Or bathe & lave in Concord sages did In cool Musketa quid. And O for more of that sweet lovely loafing At eve and dawn On Sargents lawn. With thee & red breast Robin And round the shady lily pond In rhododendron clouds That vie With sunset sky In red & purple glory Another version of Arabran story Fairy groves & halls & broad verandas Blooming with flowers & fern & science Which to no pen of mine Will come to rhyme Or time While here I weary swoon & swelter Every day a worser melter Eking out a life precarious On scraps of have-beens odd & various
Dog on ice, trees, streams, a[illegible] Glacier meadows mountain floras All in fading memory mingled In dullest prose or doggerel jingled. My useless clothes are falling fast Before this wilting scorching blast. My broiling flesh is gone or going Like snow, in sunshine melting flowing Wit, sense, & all I fear will follow. E'en now my skull sounds light & hollow. Thank Heaven the little left will be Soon cooling on the breezy sea Then looking back I'll blow my slogan Like that brave sailor Paddy Grogan And on every wave of the heaving main I'll find my friends & joys again.
June 22, 1893.
The weather is cool now. For three days the thermometer was above 90° - mostly 95 & 98 - & I began to suffer. But Johnson Kept taking out on the water & so I pulled through. - without much harm. Love to all. Will write the children a line tomorrow. Ever yours John Muir
1893 Jun 22
Original letter dimensions: 30.5 x 21 cm.
Muir, John, "Letter from John Muir to [Louie Muir], 1893 Jun 22." (1893). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 943.
Reel 07, Image 1140
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