A thousand-mile walk to the Gulf- John Muir - PDF ebook

A thousand-mile walk to the Gulf

A thousand-mile walk to the Gulf

John Muir,, Earth-planet, Universe." - These words are written on the inside cover of the notebook from which the contents of this volume have been taken. They reflect the mood in which the late author and explorer undertook his thousand-mile walk to the Gulf of Mexico a half-century ago. 

No less does this refreshingly cosmopolitan address, which might have startled any finder of the book, reveal the temper and the comprehensiveness of Mr Muir s mind. He never was and never could be a parochial student of nature. Even at the early age of twenty-nine, his eager interest in every aspect of the natural world had made him a citizen of the universe. 

While this was by far the longest botanical excursion that Mr Muir made in his earlier years, it was by no means the only one. He had botanized around the Great Lakes, in Ontario, and through parts of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. On these expeditions, he had disciplined himself to endure hardship, for his notebooks disclose the fact that he often went hungry and slept in the woods, or on the open prairies, with no cover except the clothes he wore. "Oftentimes," he writes in some unpublished biographical notes, "I had to sleep out without blankets, and also without supper or breakfast. But usually, I had no great difficulty in finding a loaf of bread in the widely scattered clearings of the farmers. With one of these big backwoods loaves, 

I was able to wander many a long, wild mile, free as the winds in the glorious forests and bogs, gathering plants and feeding on God s abounding inexhaustible spiritual beauty bread. Only once in my long Canada wanderings was the deep peace of the wilderness savagely broken. It happened in the maple woods about midnight when I was cold and my fire was low. 

I was awakened by the awfully dismal howling of the wolves and got up in haste to replenish the fire. It was not, therefore, a new species of adventure upon which Mr Muir embarked when he started on his Southern foot-tour. 

It was only a new response to the lure of those favourite studies which he had already pursued over uncounted miles of virgin Western forests and prairies. Indeed, had it not been for the accidental injury to his right eye in the month of March 1867, he probably would have started somewhat earlier than he did. In a letter written to Indianapolis friends on the day after the accident, he refers mournfully to the interruption of a long-cherished plan. 

"For weeks," he writes, "I have daily consulted maps in locating a route through the Southern States, the West Indies, South America, and Europe a botanical journey studied for years. And so my mind has long been in a glow with visions of the glories of a tropical flora; but, alas, I am half-blind. My right eye, trained to minute analysis, is lost and I have the scarce heart to open the other.

book details :
  • Author: John Muir,
  • Publication date:1916
  • Company: New York, Houghton, Mifflin company

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