The Writings Of John Muir

I came across a quote by John Muir earlier this Summer and was struck by the force, word pictures, and the originality of it    Got me to thinking, I wonder if the other things he’d written would have the same zing.  So last week I finally received a book I’d bought on a hunch.

It is called : John Muir His Life and Letters and Other Writings

907 pages of pure escape.

Before discovering that quote (which I will include at the end of this post) the only things I could tell you about the guy was he had something to do with helping to establish some of the National parks with Theodore Roosevelt, had a woods named after him in California, and according to an anecdotal story, climbed a tree in the middle of a thunderstorm “Just to experience it first hand.”

I asked two of the guys I was working with last week if either one of them had heard of John Muir? Neither one of them had, although the guy with the college degree did say, he “thought he’d heard his name before but couldn’t tell you anything about him.”

Give me a book with personal letters and journal entries any day over formal biographies.  They give an intimate glimpse into a person’s life that can’t be done any other way.

I’ve discovered Muir and I share several things in common….(interests and personality traits)  As I’ve shared some of my discoveries  with my wife, repeatedly she’s commented, “Boy, he sounds a lot like you!”  (Even to our shared interest in saving, pressing and drying of wild flowers.)

So there you have it.

I’m all about balance and pacing myself, emotionally, spiritually, etc.

Thought I would give you a little peek into a book that is allowing me  to pull that off currently.

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Here are some excerpts from John Muir.

You may recognize the first one.  Think I included it in a blog post earlier this summer.

“The mountain winds, like the dew and rain, sunshine and snow, are measured and bestowed with love on the forests to develop their strength and beauty. ….  the winds go to every tree, fingering every leaf and branch and furrowed bole; not one is forgotten; the Mountain Pine towering with outstretched arms on the rugged buttresses of the icy peaks, the lowliest and most retiring tenant of the dells; they seek and find them all, caressing them tenderly, bending them in lusty exercise, stimulating their growth, plucking off a leaf or limb as required, or removing an entire tree or grove, now whispering and cooing through the branches like a sleepy child, now roaring like the ocean; the winds blessing the forests, the forests the winds, with ineffable beauty and harmony as the sure result…

….. pines six feet in diameter bending like grasses before a mountain gale…..” 

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“Keep close to nature’s heart….and break clear away once in a while,

 and climb a mountain, or spend a week in the woods.

Wash your spirit clean.”

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john muir quote

How about you?  Did you ever hear about John Muir while you were in school?

If this is the first time you’ve ever heard about him, I would encourage you to look him up on line, then come back here and tell me something you discovered.   DM

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15 thoughts on “The Writings Of John Muir

  1. The daughter and I visited Muir Woods National Monument a few years back on a visit to San Francisco. Gorgeous old growth timber and gigantic trees, but much of the trail was closed due to wind damage. Up to that point I had never heard of John Muir, but thanks to your suggestion I learned that he was the founder of the Sierra Club, and that we have two elementary schools named after him about 1 hour north.

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  2. When I lived in Berkeley, I spent a lot of time over in Marin County and in Muir Woods. I’ve had a quotation from him on my About page since I started my blog. He’s one of the best. The quotation I like is often misquoted, but here’s the way it came from him:

    “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haven’t been there yet but definitely going to go to Muir Woods next time I’m in California! The fact that you consider him “One of the best” speaks very highly of him to me. I know you are well read and would not say that lightly. DM

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  3. I do know who he is but I have not read any of his writings. On one of the news channels there is an anchor man and his last name is Muir and I always wonder if he is related.

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  4. I believe the quote above thephoto was spoken I the documentary I mentioned. ‘Mile, Mile and a Half’ He sounds like an amazing guy. Also, the older I get, the more I want to go on a wilderness trek. The silence beckons me. In the meantime, me and my boy are going to go hike into the Grand Canyon this Saturday. So excited! Say hello to your lovely wife. You should come visit us in AZ. 😉

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    • I have a cousin that lives in your area. Thank you for the invite. We will definitely look you guys up if we head west. Have fun in the Canyon. Mrs DM did that gig when she was in High school. Not for the faint of heart. Can’t wait to hear about your experience! DM

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  5. No, never in school. There is a meadow in an arboretum near here named after him.
    After delving deep into this wordpress thing over the past year, I have learned a lot, and am becoming much more in tune with nature.
    Thanks for the book recommendation and quotes.

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  6. Pressing wildflowers? Neat! I did that a lot when I was a kid. My daughter got a flower press for the 4th birthday, of course we press just in books too, so we like making flower cards.
    I had never heard of John Muir until I followed a blogger who would post pictures of Muir Woods and quote him. I then checked out that 900 page book like you. 🙂 But was intimidated to read much. I did read a quote and photo book of his.
    There is a PBS documentary on him which I had been planning to watch as well as that Mile and a Half film that m1cey mentions above.
    Thanks for the reminder again!

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    • I need to track down that PBS special. the book is thick, but I plan to take my time on it. I’ll probably still be reading it this coming winter sipping on hot chocolate 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Cherie attended John Muir Elementary School in Long Beach CA. She’s a big fan and I learned of him through her. Great quote.

    Your comment about journal entries and personal letters being better than formal biographies resonates with me. Earlier this year I read a biography of the explorer Freya Stark and I enjoyed it. But for the past week or so I’ve been reading a collection of excerpts from the writings of female travelers/explorers (mostly from the 1800’s) and they’ve been fascinating. I’m enjoying this book more than the biography.

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  8. I don’t remember hearing about him in school, but when I was active in the Sierra Club a few years back, I learned about him and read his quotes on calendars. One of the things on my bucket list is to visit the Pacific Northwest starting at Muir Woods and heading north to the the Olympic National Forest. Thank you for inspiring me on!

    Liked by 1 person

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