Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.
You want a physicist to speak at your funeral.
You want the physicist to talk to your family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and that none dies.
You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you’d hope the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neutrons whose energy will go on forever.
You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around.
According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly.
Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren’t they? They’re all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you’re born, you’re on your own. Pro-Life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t want to know about you. They don’t want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start. No school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re preborn, you’re fine. If you’re preschool, you’re fucked!
Without birds, nature would lose her voice and the planet its most engaging envoys. Birds matter precisely because they matter to us. Environment is a concept. Nature a label. Birds are real, elements that live within our sensory plane. They spread their wings and bridge the gap between our world and the natural world.
Conservatives don’t give a SHIT about you until you reach MILITARY AGE. Then they think you are just fine! Just what they’ve been looking for! Conservatives want live babies, so they can raise them to be dead soldiers. Pro-Life…these people aren’t pro-life, they’re killing doctors! What kind of pro-life is that?! What, they’ll do anything they can to save a fetus, but if it grows up to be a doctor, they just might have to kill it?! They are NOT pro-life..you know what they are? ANTI-WOMAN! Simple as it gets! ANTI-WOMAN! They don’t like women! They believe a woman’s primary role is to function as a brood mare for the state!
Here is a dump of my favorite Muir quotes to commemorate this day:
“This is one of the still, hushed ripe days when we might heat the beating of nature’s heart”
“Of all the paths you walk in life, make sure a few of them are dirt”
“The world is big, and I want to get a good look at it before it gets dark”
“You may be a little cold some nights, on mountain tops about timberline, but you will see the stars, and by and by you can sleep enough in your town bed, or at least in your grave. Keep awake while you can in mountain mansions so rare”
“I’d rather be in the mountains thinking of God, than in church thinking about the mountains”
“Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures, all scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts”
“Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action”
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storm’s their energy, care will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn”
“The sun shines not on us, but in us”
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees”
“I am losing the precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news”
“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”
“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”
“Who wouldn’t want to be a mountaineer! Up here all the world’s prizes seem nothing”
On Glacier National Park: “Give at least a month to this precious reserve. The time will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening, it will indefinitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal. Nevermore will time seem short or long, and cares will never again fall heavily on you, but gently and kindly as gifts from Heaven”
On Yellowstone National Park: “…healing, reviving, exhilarating, kept pure by frost and fire, while the scenery is wild enough to awaken the dead”
“The question comes up ‘What are rattlesnakes good for?’ As if nothing that does not obviously make for the benefit of man had any right to exist: as if our ways were God’s ways… Anyway they are all, head and tail, good for themselves, and we need not begrudge them their share of life”
After trying to describe Yosemite: “I can write only to incite good wanderers to come to the feast”
“Even the blind must enjoy these woods, drinking their fragrance, listening to the music of the woods in their groves, and fingering the flowers and plumes and cones in their richly furrowed boles” (I love this because I always forget to use my other senses outside)
Last but not least (for now…), John Muir on ants: “As soon as a vulnerable spot is discovered on man or beast, they stand on their heads and sink their jaws, and though torn limn from limb, they will yet hold on and die biting deeper. When I contemplate this fierce creature so widely distributed and strongly intrenched, I see that much remains to be done ere the world is brought under the rule of universal love and peace”