When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.
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”
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.
My days in the wilderness will live with me always. Everything there was so alive and familiar. It’s wonderful how nature is a part of us. The sun shines not on us, but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us.