Tuesday, 21 July 2009

John Muir

“To some, beauty seems but an accident of creation: to Muir it was the very smile of God.” - unknown

Tricia mentioned John Muir the other day. I have to confess my ignorance and admit I had never heard of him.

It seems I should have done. He was born in 1838 in East Lothian, Scotland, and died in 1914 in Los Angeles. He was an engineer, naturalist, writer, botanist and early advocate of the preservation of American wilderness. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, have been read by millions and are still popular today.

Some John Muir quotes:-

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul."

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

“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.”

“Most people are on the world, not in it - having no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them - undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate”

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.”

“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.””

“Society speaks and all men listen, mountains speak and wise men listen”

“Nature chose for a tool, not the earthquake or lightning to rend and split asunder, not the stormy torrent or eroding rain, but the tender snow-flowers noiselessly falling through unnumbered centuries.”

His direct activism helped to save the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is now one of the most important conservation organizations in the United States. His writings and philosophy strongly influenced the formation of the modern environmental movement in the U.S.    Added to which he had a great beard!!

Thank you, Tricia, for introducing me to this marvellous man.   Now, if you'll excuse me, "The mounains are calling and I must go.”



  1. Sounds like the hills are alive -again. Thankfully, minus the singing :)

  2. I'm happy to hear all is right with the world.

    You are most welcome for the introduction. It's nice to know that someone benefits from any of my gibberish. Thank you for the link-- and thank you for the John Muir quotes. There are a couple I'd never heard.

  3. Well this must be a first. I did know about John Muir. Although living in Scotland and Lewis gives me a huge advantage. Over the years I have had dealings with the John Muir Trust which owns various Scottish Estates including Ben Nevis and contributes in various ways to the community buyouts of various estates including the North Harris Estate.

  4. We have a lovely DVD on Yosemite Valley - features quite a bit on John Muir. Must lend it to you sometime.

  5. Of what he speaks is truly awe inspiring. I think anyone who takes the time to really see these places would be drawn to speak poetry as well.
    Great post!

  6. I'm guessing that in John Muir, you'll find a kindred spirit... across the pond, and across the decades.

    Thanks for the quotes.


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