1838-1914 Western States, USA
Naturalist author, advocate of wilderness preservation
Christian Deist yet refers to Mother Nature
* some quotes *
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.
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
– My First Summer in the Sierra , 1911
There is a love of wild nature in everybody an ancient mother-love ever showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.
– From Muir’s journals
Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to 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.
– John of the Mountains
Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed — chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. … It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods — trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries … God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools — only Uncle Sam can do that.
– Our National Parks 1901
- 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 storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
- — Our National Parks , 1901
From Sierra Club information:
When Muir Met Emerson –
Emerson, who lived in Massachusetts, came to Yosemite in 1871 when he was 68. Muir – a buoyant 33 – could barely contain his jubilation at his hero’s arrival. As Muir later recounted:
When he came into the Valley I heard the hotel people saying with solemn emphasis, “Emerson is here.” I was excited as I had never been excited before, and my heart throbbed as if an angel direct from heaven had alighted on the Sierran rocks.
Muir offered to take him camping at a grove populated with giant Sequoia trees, and promised to “build a glorious campfire.”
But Emerson and his handlers had other ideas – namely a nice, comfortable hotel, lest the old man catch cold. Muir wrote:
In vain I urged, that only in homes and hotels were colds caught, that nobody ever was known to take cold camping in these woods, that there was not a single cough or sneeze in all the Sierra. Then I pictured the big climate-changing, inspiring fire I would make, praised the beauty and fragrance of Sequoia flame, told how the great trees would stand about us transfigured in purple light, while the stars looked between the great domes; ending by urging them to come on and make an immortal Emerson night of it. But the house habit was not to be overcome, nor the strange dread of pure night air, though it is only cooled day air with a little dew in it. So the carpet dust and unknowable reeks were preferred.
Muir continued to look up to Emerson, but he never quite recovered from his disappointment that the great man preferred the “carpet dust and unknowable reeks” to a night under the stars.