Quick Quotes 34. Every so often on Windows into History I have quoted from the very entertaining and interesting A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, by John Muir. Muir (1838-1914) was a celebrated naturalist known as “John of the Mountains”, a key figure in the push for the establishment of National Parks in the USA. This will be the final quote from Muir’s book, because it is in fact the end of the final chapter. The last location he describes is Twenty Hollow Hill, California, and his closing thoughts on the power of nature are an inspiration. The following quote is taken from the 1916 edition edited by William Frederic Bade.
Never shall I forget my baptism in this font. It happened in January, a resurrection day for many a plant and for me. I suddenly found myself on one of its hills; the Hollow overflowed with light, as a fountain, and only small, sun less nooks were kept for mosseries and ferneries. Hollow Creek spangled and mazed like a river. The ground steamed with fragrance. Light, of unspeakable richness, was brooding the flowers. Truly, said I, is California the Golden State in metallic gold, in sun gold, and in plant gold. The sunshine for a whole summer seemed condensed into the chambers of that one glowing day. Every trace of dimness had been washed from the sky; the mountains were dusted and wiped clean with clouds Pacheco Peak and Mount Diablo, and the waved blue wall between; the grand Sierra stood along the plain, colored in four horizontal bands: the lowest, rose purple; the next higher, dark purple; the next, blue; and, above all, the white row of summits pointing to the heavens.
It may be asked, What have mountains fifty or a hundred miles away to do with Twenty Hill Hollow? To lovers of the wild, these mountains are not a hundred miles away. Their spiritual power and the goodness of the sky make them near, as a circle of friends. They rise as a portion of the hilled walls of the Hollow. You cannot feel yourself out of doors; plain, sky, and mountains ray beauty which you feel. You bathe in these spirit-beams, turning round and round, as if warming at a camp-fire. Presently you lose consciousness of your own separate existence: you blend with the landscape, and become part and parcel of nature.
“Quick Quotes” are some bonus content for the blog. Each time I find an interesting or amusing little quote that does not really need any further explanation or background information, it will appear on Windows into History under this heading. You can keep updated each time I post a new entry by clicking on the follow button on the right of the screen. I welcome any comments or suggestions, and will consider guest posts.