And though I love the quote, I had never read anything by Muir. My favorite story from this collection was "Stickeen," the tale of Muir, a little dog, and a day on a glacier. Another of his quotes, "In God's wildness lies the hope of the world - the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. Now on to "The Wild Muir." I can't wait...would like to read it while deep in the back-country of Colorado but will probably have to settle for some Texas Wilderness.
(Possibly he had never encountered man, up on these heights.) "I was afraid to run, and therefore, like the bear, held my ground...How long our strenuous interview lasted, I don't know..but in the slow fulness of time, he took his huge paws down off the log, and with magnificent deliberation turned and walked leisurely up the meadow...His bread is sure in all seasons,...tasting each in turn as if he had journeyed thousands of miles...to enjoy their varied productions"(131). Great account of canyons, even knowing someone is ten miles away.
All he took with him were a few weird and wonderful inventions created in isolation in his basement during the early hours of the morning (before heading out into the fields each day). Reading this book one gets the sense Muir could have easily succeeded in any field of his choosing (he even ran a successful factory for a period).
No amount of word-making will ever make a single soul to know these mountains. One day's exposure to mountains is better than cartloads of books.
I love John Muir for his brilliant mind, his deep respect and awe of God's creations, and his beautiful words. (Even I, a fan and tree-hugger, did not read the last section because I was done with all the description without much story by then.) Favorite parts: The first section reminds me so much of the Little House books. I love his wild tendencies and passion for the natural world from the beginning. p72 I was compelled to sleep with the trees in the one great bedroom of the open night. p105 How deep our sleep last night in the mountain's heart, beneath the trees and stars, hushed by solemn-sounding waterfalls and many small soothing voices in sweet accord whispering peace! p109 Beautiful passages like this (above) are a dime a dozen in John Muir's writings. above the water, beneath the leaves and stars-everything still more impressive than by day, the fall seen dimly white, singing Nature's old love song with solemn enthusiasm, while the stars peering through the leaf-roof seemed to join in the white water's song. p311 (One of my already favorite John Muir quotes.)
As a young man, he was an inventor.
Nowadays, we would probably call someone like him crazy; but in reading his thoughts and observations from years in the woods, it's hard not to wonder if we're the crazy ones for living so much of our lives in ignorance of nature.
John Muir (1838 1914) was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. "Muir has profoundly shaped the very categories through which Americans understand and envision their relationships with the natural world," writes Holmes. He co-founded the Sierra Club, which helped establish a number of national parks after he died and today has over 1.3 million members. Author Gretel Ehrlich states that as a "dreamer and activist, his eloquent words changed the way Americans saw their mountains, forests, seashores, and deserts." He not only led the efforts to protect forest areas and have some designated as national parks, but his writings gave readers a conception of the relationship between "human culture and wild nature as one of humility and respect for all life," writes author Thurman Wilkins.