|"I saw a glade.
had a lush fir tree at the far side and a knoll in the center covered in
bright, almost luminous green moss.
The rays of the afternoon sun
slanted against the blue- black green of the pine forest.
roof of visible sky was perfectly blue.
The whole picture had a
completeness, an all-there quality of such dense power that it stopped me in my
I went to the edge and then, softly, as though into a magical
or holy place, to the center, where I sat, then lay down with my cheek against
the freshness of the moss.
It is here, I thought, and I felt the
anxiety that colored my life fall away." - Jean Liedloff
"People talk about creation as a remote fact of
Creation was not an act; it is a
It is going on today as much as it ever.
Nature is not in a
I followed the Mono Trail
up the eastern rim of the basin nearly to its summit, then turned off southward
to a small shallow valley that extends to the edge of the Yosemite, which we
reached about noon, and encamped.
After lunch I made haste to high ground, and from the top of the ridge
on the west side of Indian Canyon gained
the noblest view of the summit
peaks I have ever yet enjoyed.
Nearly all the upper basin of the
Merced was displayed, with its sublime domes and canyon, dark up sweeping
forests, and glorious array of white peaks deep in the sky, every feature
glowing, radiating beauty that pours into our flesh and bones like
heat rays from fire.
all; no breath of wind to stir the brooding calm.
Never before had I
seen so glorious a landscape, so boundless an affluence of
"For the mountains may move and the hills
but even then my faithful love for you will
"Your faith is too small.
I bring you
if your faith is
as big as a mustard
you can say to this mountain,
'Move from here to there,' and
it will move.
All things will be possible for you."
The most extravagant description
I might give of this view to anyone who has not seen similar landscapes with
his own eyes would not so much as hint its grandeur and the spiritual glow that
I shouted and gesticulated in a
wild burst of ecstasy to the
astonishment of St. Bernard Carlo, who came running up to me, manifesting in
his intelligent eyes a puzzled concern that was
bringing me to my senses.
brown bear, too, it would appear, had been
a spectator of the show I
had made of myself, for I had gone but a few yards when I started one from a
thicket of brush.
He evidently considered me dangerous, for he ran away
very fast, tumbling over the tops of the tangled manzanita bushes in his haste.
Carlo drew back, with his ears depressed as if afraid, and kept looking
me in the face, as if expecting me to pursue and
shoot, for he had seen many a bear battle in his day.
ridge, which made a gradual descent to the
south, I came at length to the brow of that massive cliff that stands
between Indian Canyon and Yosemite Falls, and here the far famed valley came
suddenly into view throughout almost its whole extent.
The noble walls - sculptured into endless variety of domes and
gables, spires and battlements and plain mural precipices - all a tremble with
the thunder tones of the falling water.
The level bottom seemed to be dressed like a
garden - sunny meadows here and
there, and groves of pine and oak; the river of
Mercy sweeping in majesty through the midst of them and flashing back the
The great Tissiack, or Half-Dome, rising at the upper end of
the valley to a height of nearly a mile, is nobly proportioned and life-like,
the most impressive of all the rocks, holding the eye in devout
admiration, calling it back again and
again from falls or meadows, or even the mountains beyond, marvelous in sheer
dizzy depth and sculpture, types of endurance.
Thousands of years have
they stood in the sky exposed to rain, snow, frost,
earthquake and avalanche, yet
they still wear the bloom of youth.
I rambled along the valley rim to
the westward; most of it is rounded off on the very brink, so that it is not
easy to find places where one may look clear down the face of the wall to the
supernatural but only
because it is not understood. Anyhow, it seems silly to make so much of it,
while the natural and common is more truly marvelous and mysterious than the
so-called supernatural. Indeed most of the miracles we hear of are
infinitely less wonderful than the
commonest of natural phenomena, when fairly seen." - John Muir
places were found, and I had cautiously set my feet and drawn my body erect, I
could not help fearing a little that the rock might split off and let me down,
and what a down! - more than three thousand feet.
Still my limbs did
not tremble, nor did I feel the least
uncertainty as to the
reliance to be placed on them.
My only fear was that a flake of the
granite, which in some places showed joints more or less open and running
parallel with the face of the cliff, might give way. After withdrawing from
such places, excited with the view I
had got, I would say to myself, "Now don't go out on the verge
In the face of Yosemite scenery
cautious remonstrance is vain;
under its spell one's body appears to go where it likes with a will over which
we appear to have scarce any control.
After a mile or so of this
memorable cliff work I approached Yosemite Creek, admiring its easy, graceful,
confident gestures as it comes bravely forward in its narrow channel,
singing the last of its mountain songs
on its way to its fate - a few rods more over the shining granite, then
down half a mile in showy foam to another world, to be lost in the Merced,
where climate, vegetation, inhabitants, all are different.
from its last gorge, it glides in wide lace - like rapids down a smooth incline
into a pool where it appears to rest and compose its gray, agitated waters
before taking the grand plunge, then slowly slipping over the lip of the pool
basin, it descends another glossy slope with rapidly accelerated speed to the
brink of the tremendous cliff, and with sublime,
fateful confidence springs
out free in the air.
I took off my shoes and
stockings, working my way cautiously alongside the
rushing flood, keeping my feet
and hands pressed firmly on polished rock.
The booming, roaring
circumstances, I crept down safely to the little ledge, got my heels well
planted on it, then shuffled in a horizontal direction twenty or thirty feet
until close to the out plunging current, which, by the time it had descended
thus far, was already white.
Here I obtained a perfectly free view down
into the heart of the snowy, chanting throng of comet - like streamers, into
which the body of the fall soon separates.
While perched on that narrow
niche I was not distinctly
conscious of danger.
The tremendous grandeur of the fall in form
and sound and motion, acting at close range,
smothered the sense of fear, and
in such places one's body takes keen care for safety on
its own account.
"When we try to pick out any one thing we
it hitched to everything in the Universe."
How long I remained down there, or how I returned, I can hardly
Anyhow I had a
glorious time, and got
back to camp about dark, enjoying triumphant exhilaration soon followed by
Hereafter I'll try to keep from such
extravagant, nerve straining
Yet such a day is well worth venturing for.
first view of the High Sierra, first view looking down into Yosemite, the death
song of Yosemite Creek, and its flight over the vast cliff, each one of these
is of itself enough for a great life long landscape fortune - a most memorable
day of days - enjoyment enough to
kill if that were possible.
John Muir, from My First Summer in
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