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"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 which 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 "Oftentimes," he writes in some unpublished biographical notes, "I had to sleep out without blankets, and also without supper or breakfast.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 favorite 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 Europea 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 scarce heart to open the other. Had this journey been accomplished, the stock of varied beauty acquired would have made me willing to shrink into any corner of the world, however obscure and however remote." The injury to his eye proved to be less serious than he had at first supposed. In June he was writing to a friend: "I have been reading and botanizing for some weeks, and find that for such work I am not very much disabled. I leave this city [Indianapolis] for home to-morrow, accompanied by Merrill Moores, a little friend of mine. We will go to Decatur, Illinois, thence northward through the wide prairies, botanizing a few weeks by the way. . . . I hope to go South towards the end of the summer, and as this will be a journey that I know very little about, I hope to profit by your counsel before setting out."

Dettagli

Generi Storia e Biografie » Storia: opere generali » Storia: specifici argomenti , Romanzi e Letterature » Romanzi contemporanei , Salute Benessere Self Help » Mente, corpo, spirito

Editore Library Of Alexandria

Formato Ebook con Adobe DRM

Pubblicato 15/09/2019

Lingua Inglese

EAN-13 9781465635310

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