Posts Tagged ‘John Muir’

John Muir

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

john muir

I’d like to take a moment to celebrate the person known as Mr. John Muir.

Here is a person who is one of my idols. He is accredited as being the father of the conservation movement and as being responsible for the birth of the National Park system in our country which preserves huge tracts of wilderness.

This guy was intense. Almost not even human. He was so into the outdoors he would walk around in the mountains for days with little more than a loaf of bread, some tea, and his journal. He would walk out into the middle of storms and just hang out, enjoying the power of it all.

i have never heard anyone write the way he does. He has no doubt inspired masses of individuals to wonder at the beauty of Nature through the writings he left behind.

Who was this guy?

I have spent time with many naturalists throughout the country over the years. And I have been inspired by many of them in powerful ways. But to be perfectly honest, a good number of them exhibit massive displays of ego. This can be very confusing. It also produces suffering.

i recently revisited John Muir’s “My First Summer in the Sierra”, an account of his time spent in Yosemite working as a sheep herder. Reading it i was literally blown away. The way he glorifies Nature completely lays to waste any kind of ego energy in me or any of these other outdoor people i interact with.  here’s an excerpt:

“From garden to garden, ridge to ridge, I drift enchanted……..In the midst of such beauty, pierced with it’s rays, one’s body is all one tingling palate. Who wouldn’t be a mountaineer! Up here all the world’s prizes seem nothing.”

Hahahaha! What a crazy man. Some kind of alien for sure.

i’d like to see a John Muir Day as a national holiday in which everyone takes off work to go to the mountains or a local wilderness area to explore.

the Man

Feather River

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Mustela vison

The American Mink, a weasel found often  in waterways throughout North America and beyond. I walked along the feather river in Portola California today in search of wildlife. Some co-workers said the river has otter. I wanted to find out. I found some otter-like scat, but i couldn’t ID it for sure. I did come across the other riparian weasel however. His trails and scat were all along the banks in the mud and up on the rocks. The scat was almost entirely filled with crayfish remains.

Yesterday I picked up John Muir’s “My First Summer in the Sierra” for the first time in years. I opened it up and was absolutely blown away. Everyone remembers him as a mountaineer, but honestly, I have never heard anyone else write like that. The mans mastery of words is phenomenal.  He makes Nature sound like Heaven. I’ve never heard anyone write about Nature like that. He was so enthralled by the wilderness and conveys it so well in his writings, I almost couldn’t relate, and i’m a naturalist. That guy was some kind of alien or something. Truly inspiring.

Castor canadensis

The Beaver, also a common resident of rivers, ponds and almost any place with water. If you look in the top right portion of the picture you can see a fairly large three-toed track that looks like a giant bird track, that’s the hind foot of the beaver. The hind left is also in the photo in the bottom left, but it’s jumbled up amongst other animals tracks and is harder to see.

The beaver has five toes on its hind feet, but usualy only the outer three show up. Not sure why honestly. It probably has to do with the fact that they spend a significant amount of time in the water swimming as apposed to travelling about on land.

Spotted sandpipers, ospreys, and a green-tailed towhee shared the banks of the Feather with me. The Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, makes a unique kind of shriek-call as he flies, that makes him sound like the dominant resident of the river.