220 John Muir Quotes About Life, Nature and Mountains

Looking for the best John Muir quotes? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a collection of 220 quotes for you.

John Muir Quotes

1. “The power of imagination makes us infinite.”

2. “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

3. “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

4. “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

5. “Keep close to Nature’s breasts… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb those voluptuous mountains or spend a week deep in the woods. Wash yourself clean…seriously wash yourself, you could get a disease or something.”

6. “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

7. “The mountains are calling and I must go.”

8. “The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”

9. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

10. “God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.”

11. “How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!”

12. “Earth has no sorrow that earth cannot heal.”

13. “Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose we came from the woods originally. But in some of nature’s forests, the adventurous traveler seems a feeble, unwelcome creature; wild beasts and the weather trying to kill him, the rank, tangled vegetation, armed with spears and stinging needles, barring his way and making life a hard struggle.”

14. “The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”

15. “Rocks and waters, etc., are words of God, and so are men. We all flow from one fountain Soul. All are expressions of one Love.”

16. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

17. “The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers, of glaciers, of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains – mountain dwellers who have grown strong there with the forest trees in Nature’s workshops.”

18. “Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, inciting at once to work and rest! Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God. Nevermore, however weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever.”

19. “I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”

20. “Most people are on the world, not in it – have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them – undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate.”

21. “Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.”

22. “Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.”

23. “None of Nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild.”

24. “Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature’s sources never fail.”

25. “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

26. “Yosemite Park is a place of rest. None can escape its charms. Its natural beauty cleans and warms like a fire, and you will be willing to stay forever in one place like a tree.”

27. “This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”

28. “Most people who travel look only at what they are directed to look at. Great is the power of the guidebook maker, however ignorant.”

29. “The more I see of deer, the more I admire them as mountaineers. They make their way into the heart of the roughest solitudes with smooth reserve of strength, through dense belts of brush and forest encumbered with fallen trees and boulder piles, across canons, roaring streams, and snow-fields, ever showing forth beauty and courage.”

30. “When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”

31. “Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach.”

32. “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”

33. “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

34. “Wherever there were glaciers, the world was in a constant state of creation.”

35. “I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. Trees go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!”

36. “Raindrops blossom brilliantly in the rainbow, and change to flowers in the sod, but snow comes in full flower direct from the dark, frozen sky.”

37. “Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed – chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones.”

38. “It seems supernatural, but only because it is not understood.”

39. “Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.”

40. “The morning stars still sing together, and the world, not yet half made, becomes more beautiful every day.”

41. “Here ends my forever memorable first High Sierra excursion. I have crossed the Range of Light, surely the brightest and best of all the Lord has built. And, rejoicing in its glory, I gladly, gratefully, hopefully pray I may see it again.”

42. “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life. Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury, they are trying as best they can to mix and enrich their own little ongoings with those of Nature, and to get rid of rust and disease.”

43. “Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.”

44. “To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.”

45. “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

46. “It is easier to feel than to realize, or in any way explain, Yosemite grandeur. The magnitudes of the rocks and trees and streams are so delicately harmonized, they are mostly hidden.”
47. “Who wouldn’t be a mountaineer! Up here all the world’s prizes seem nothing.”

48. “Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.”

49. “There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation’s braggart lords.”

50. “The practical importance of the preservation of our forests is augmented by their relations to climate, soil and streams.”

51. “All the world lies warm in one heart, yet the Sierra seems to get more light than other mountains. The weather is mostly sunshine embellished with magnificent storms, and nearly everything shines from base to summit – the rocks, streams, lakes, glaciers, irised falls, and the forests of silver fir and silver pine.”

52. “We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men.”

53. “One may as well dam for water tanks the people’s cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man.”

54. “As soon as a redwood is cut down or burned, it sends up a crowd of eager, hopeful shoots, which, if allowed to grow, would in a few decades attain a height of a hundred feet, and the strongest of them would finally become giants as great as the original tree.”

55. “I care to live only to entice people to look at Nature’s loveliness. Heaven knows that John the Baptist was not more eager to get all his fellow sinners into the Jordan than I to baptize all of mine in the beauty of God’s mountains.”

56. “The gross heathenism of civilization has generally destroyed nature, and poetry, and all that is spiritual.”

57. “The battle we have fought, and are still fighting for the forests is a part of the eternal conflict between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it… So, we must count on watching and striving for these trees, and should always be glad to find anything so surely good and noble to strive for.”

58. “Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”

59. “When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.”

60. “The forests of America, however slighted by man, must have been a great delight to God; for they were the best he ever planted. The whole continent was a garden, and from the beginning, it seemed to be favored above all the other wild parks and gardens of the globe.”

61. “The waving of a pine tree on the top of a mountain – a magic wand in Nature’s hand – every devout mountaineer knows its power; but the marvelous beauty value of what the Scotch call a breckan in a still dell, what poet has sung this?”

62. “There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.”

63. “Storms of every sort, torrents, earthquakes, cataclysms, ‘convulsions of nature,’ etc., however mysterious and lawless at first sight they may seem, are only harmonious notes in the song of creation, varied expressions of God’s love.”

64. “One can make a day of any size and regulate the rising and setting of his own sun and the brightness of its shining.”

65. “The redwood is the glory of the Coast Range. It extends along the western slope, in a nearly continuous belt about ten miles wide, from beyond the Oregon boundary to the south of Santa Cruz, a distance of nearly four hundred miles, and in massive, sustained grandeur and closeness of growth surpasses all the other timber woods of the world.”

66. “Nothing truly wild is unclean.”

67. “The redwood is one of the few conifers that sprout from the stump and roots, and it declares itself willing to begin immediately to repair the damage of the lumberman and also that of the forest-burner.”

68. “It seems strange that bears, so fond of all sorts of flesh, running the risks of guns and fires and poison, should never attack men except in defense of their young. How easily and safely a bear could pick us up as we lie asleep! Only wolves and tigers seem to have learned to hunt man for food, and perhaps sharks and crocodiles.”

69. “The deeper the solitude the less the sense of loneliness, and the nearer our friends.”

70. “Every other civilized nation in the world has been compelled to care for its forests, and so must we if waste and destruction are not to go on to the bitter end, leaving America as barren as Palestine or Spain.”

71. “Wilderness is a necessity…There must be places for human beings to satisfy their soul.”

72. “Every natural object is a conductor of divinity and only by coming into contact with them may we be filled with the Holy Ghost.”

73. “The making of the far-famed New York Central Park was opposed by even good men, with misguided pluck, perseverance, and ingenuity, but straight right won its way, and now that park is appreciated. So, we confidently believe it will be with our great national parks and forest reservations.”

74. “Wherever we go in the mountains, or indeed in any of God’s wild fields, we find more than we seek.”

75. “When one is alone at night in the depths of these woods, the stillness is at once awful and sublime. Every leaf seems to speak.”

76. “I am well again; I came to life in the cool winds and crystal waters of the mountains.”

77. “I don’t like either the word [hike] or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not ‘hike!’ Do you know the origin of that word saunter? It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the middle ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre’, ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so, they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”

78. “The world, we are told, was made especially for man – a presumption not supported by all the facts. A numerous class of men are painfully astonished whenever they find anything, living or dead, in all God’s universe, which they cannot eat or render in some way what they call useful to themselves.”

79. “The snow is melting into music.”

80. “I cut off some of their flat, spicy plumes for a bed, gathered a store of wood, and made a cordial fire, and was at home in this vast unhandselled Yosemite.”

81. “Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.”

82. “Under the Timber and Stone Act of 1878, which might well have been called the ‘Dust and Ashes Act,’ any citizen of the United States could take up one hundred and sixty acres of timber land and, by paying two dollars and a half an acre for it, obtain title.”

83. “How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In such places standing alone on the mountain-top it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make – leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone – we all dwell in a house of one room – the world with the firmament for its roof – and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track.”

84. “From the dust of the earth, from the common elementary fund, the Creator has made Homo sapiens. From the same material he has made every other creature, however noxious and insignificant to us. They are earth-born companions and our fellow mortals.”

85. “No traveler, whether a tree lover or not, will ever forget his first walk in a sugar-pine forest. The majestic crowns approaching one another make a glorious canopy, through the feathery arches of which the sunbeams pour, silvering the needles and gilding the stately columns and the ground into a scene of enchantment.”

86. “I am learning to live close to the lives of my friends without ever seeing them. No miles of any measurement can separate your soul from mine.”

87. “Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.”

88. “… full of God’s thoughts, a place of peace and safety amid the most exalted grandeur and enthusiastic action, a new song, a place of beginnings abounding in first lessons of life, mountain building, eternal, invincible, unbreakable order; with sermons in stone, storms, trees, flowers, and animals brimful with humanity.”

89. “I have heard of Texas pioneers living without bread or anything made from the cereals for months without suffering, using the breast-meat of wild turkeys for bread. Of this kind, they had plenty in the good old days when life, though considered less safe, was fussed over the less.”

90. “All the wild world is beautiful, and it matters but little where we go, to highlands or lowlands, woods or plains, on the sea or land or down among the crystals of waves or high in a balloon in the sky; through all the climates, hot or cold, storms and calms, everywhere and always we are in God’s eternal beauty and love. So universally true is this, the spot where we chance to be always seems the best.”

91. “Bread without flesh is a good diet, as on many botanical excursions I have proved. Tea also may easily be ignored. Just bread and water and delightful toil is all I need – not unreasonably much, yet one ought to be trained and tempered to enjoy life in these brave wilds in full independence of any particular kind of nourishment.”

92. “Indians walk softly and hurt the landscape hardly more than the birds and squirrels, and their brush and bark huts last hardly longer than those of wood rats, while their more enduring monuments, excepting those wrought on the forests by the fires they made to improve their hunting grounds, vanish in a few centuries.”

93. “This time it is real – all must die, and where could mountaineer find a more glorious death!”

94. “Beetles and butterflies are sometimes restricted to small areas. Each mountain in a range, and even the different zones of a mountain, may have its own peculiar species. But the house-fly seems to be everywhere. I wonder if any island in mid-ocean is flyless.”

95. “Sheep, like people, are ungovernable when hungry.”

96. “Our good ship also seemed like a thing of life, its great iron heart beating on through calm and storm, a truly noble spectacle. But think of the hearts of these whales, beating warm against the sea, day and night, through dark and light, on and on for centuries; how the red blood must rush and gurgle in and out, bucketfuls, barrelfuls at a beat!”

97. “Man seems to be the only animal whose food soils him, making necessary much washing and shield-like bibs and napkins. Moles living in the earth and eating slimy worms are yet as clean as seals or fishes, whose lives are one perpetual wash.”

98. “All the world was before me and every day was a holiday, so it did not seem important to which one of the world’s wildernesses I first should wander.”

99. “I suppose we need not go mourning the buffaloes. In the nature of things, they had to give place to better cattle, though the change might have been made without barbarous wickedness.”

100. “During my first years in the Sierra, I was ever calling on everybody within reach to admire them, but I found no one half warm enough until Emerson came. I had read his essays, and felt sure that of all men he would best interpret the sayings of these noble mountains and trees. Nor was my faith weakened when I met him in Yosemite.”

101. “As if nothing that does not obviously make for the benefit of man had any right to exist; as if our ways were God’s ways.”

102. “Nothing more celestial can I conceive. How gently the winds blow! Scarce can these tranquil air-currents be called winds. They seem the very breath of Nature, whispering peace to every living thing.”

103. “God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.”

104. “In all my wild mountaineering, I have enjoyed only one avalanche ride; and the start was so sudden, and the end came so soon, I thought but little of the danger that goes with this sort of travel, though one thinks fast at such times.”

105. “We turned and sailed away, joining the outgoing bergs, while “gloria in excels is” still seemed to be sounding over all the white landscape, and our burning hearts were ready for any fate, feeling that whatever the future might have in store, the treasures we had gain would enrich our lives forever.”

106. “One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.”

107. “The coniferous forests of the Yosemite Park, and of the Sierra in general, surpass all others of their kind in America, or indeed the world, not only in the size and beauty of the trees, but in the number of species assembled together, and the grandeur of the mountains they are growing on.”

108. “But we are governed more than we know, and most when we are wildest.”

109. “One of the best ways to see tree flowers is to climb one of the tallest trees and to get into close, tingling touch with them, and then look broad.”

110. “No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening – still all is Beauty!”

111. “In our best times everything turns into religion, all the world seems a church and the mountains altars.”

112. “Yet through all this stress the forest is maintained in marvelous beauty.”

113. “Like most other things not apparently useful to man, it has few friends, and the blind question, “Why was it made?” goes on and on with never a guess that first of all it might have been made for itself.”

114. “We were glad, however, to get within reach of information…”

115. “This is Nature’s own reservation, and every lover of wildness will rejoice with me that by kindly frost it is so well defended.”

116. “The wild Indian power of escaping observation, even where there is little or no cover to hide in, was probably slowly acquired in hard hunting and fighting lessons while trying to approach game, take enemies by surprise, or get safely away when compelled to retreat.”

117. “The soft light of morning falls upon ripening forests of oak and elm, walnut and hickory, and all Nature is thoughtful and calm.”

118. “In most mills, only the best portions of the best trees are used, while the ruins are left on the ground to feed great fires which kill much of what is left of the less desirable timber, together with the seedlings on which the permanence of the forest depends.”

119. “Nothing dollarable is safe.”

120. “On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitiable than on death. Let children walk with nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory, for it never fights.”

121. “Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress.”

122. “In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world – the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.”

123. “Look up and down and round about you!”

124. “Of all the mountain ranges I have climbed, I like the Sierra Nevada the best.”

125. “How terribly downright must be the utterances of storms and earthquakes to those accustomed to the soft hypocrisies of society.”

126. “Beauty beyond thought everywhere, beneath, above, made and being made forever.”

127. “One should go to the woods for safety, if for nothing else.”

128. “A queer fellow and a jolly fellow is the grasshopper. Up the mountains he comes on excursions, how high I don’t know, but at least as far and high as Yosemite tourists.”

129. “The dispersal of juniper seeds is effected by the plum and cherry plan of hiring birds at the cost of their board, and thus obtaining the use of a pair of extra good wings.”

130. “When California was wild, it was the floweriest part of the continent.”

131. “Society speaks and all men listen, mountains speak and wise men listen.”

132. “I bade adieu to mechanical inventions, determined to devote the rest of my life to the study of the inventions of God.”

133. “Down through the middle of the Valley flows the crystal Merced, River of Mercy, peacefully quiet, reflecting lilies and trees and the onlooking rocks; things frail and fleeting and types of endurance meeting here and blending in countless forms, as if into this one mountain mansion Nature had gathered her choicest treasures, to draw her lovers into close and confiding communion with her.”

134. “So also there are tides and floods in the affairs of men, which in some are slight and may be kept within bounds, but in others they overmaster everything.”

135. “Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts.”

136. “As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”

137. “We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us. Our flesh-and-bone tabernacle seems transparent as glass to the beauty about us, as if truly an inseparable part of it, thrilling with the air and trees, streams and rocks, in the waves of the sun, a part of all nature, neither old nor young, sick nor well, but immortal.”

138. “Even the sick should try these so-called dangerous passes, because for every unfortunate they kill, they cure a thousand.”

139. “Writing is like the life of a glacier; one eternal grind.”

140. “Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue; indeed, the body seems one palate, and tingles equally throughout.”

141. “Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”

142. “There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.”

143. “Hidden in the glorious wildness like unmined gold.”

144. “What a psalm the storm was singing, and how fresh the smell of the washed earth and leaves, and how sweet the still small voices of the storm!”

145. “Yet how hard most people work for mere dust and ashes and care, taking no thought of growing in knowledge and grace, never having time to get in sight of their own ignorance.”

146. “One must labor for beauty as for bread.”

147. “Go where we will, all the world over, we seem to have been there before.”

148. “And when they are fairly within the mighty walls of the temple and hear the psalms of the falls, they will forget themselves and become devout. Blessed, indeed, should be every pilgrim in these holy mountains!”

149. “A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.”

150. “Long, blue, spiky-edged shadows crept out across the snow-fields, while a rosy glow, at first scarce discernible, gradually deepened and suffused every mountain-top, flushing the glaciers and the harsh crags above them. This was the alpenglow, to me the most impressive of all the terrestrial manifestations of God. At the touch of this divine light, the mountains seemed to kindle to a rapt, religious consciousness, and stood hushed like devout worshippers waiting to be blessed.”

151. “I was awakened by a tremendous earthquake, and though I hadn’t ever before enjoyed a storm of this sort, the strange thrilling motion could not be mistaken, and I ran out of my cabin, both glad and frightened, shouting, “A noble earthquake! A noble earthquake” feeling sure I was going to learn something.”

152. “How narrow we selfish conceited creatures are in our sympathies! How blind to the rights of all the rest of creation!”

153. “Surely a better time must be drawing nigh when godlike human beings will become truly humane, and learn to put their animal fellow mortals in their hearts instead of on their backs or in their dinners. In the mean time we may just as well as not learn to live clean, innocent lives instead of slimy, bloody ones.”

154. “Wander a whole summer if you can… time will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening, it will definitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal.”

155. “These temple destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and, instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar.”

156. “The lake a perfect mirror reflecting the sky and mountains with their stars and trees and wonderful sculpture, all their grandeur refined and doubled, a marvelously impressive picture, that seemed to belong more to heaven than earth.”

157. “Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains.”

158. “But no punishment, however sure and severe, was of any avail against the attraction of the fields and woods. It had other uses, developing memory, etc., but in keeping us at home it was of no use at all.”

159. “One learns that the world, though made, is yet being made; that this is still the morning of creation; that mountains long conceived are now being born, channels traced for coming rivers, basins hollowed for lakes.”

160. “Everything in Nature called destruction must be creation-a change from beauty to beauty.”

161. “In drying plants, botanists often dry themselves. Dry words and dry facts will not fire hearts.”

162. “… their eager, childlike attention was refreshing to see as compared with the decent, deathlike apathy of weary civilized people, in whom natural curiosity has been quenched in toil and care and poor, shallow comfort.”

163. “The body seems to feel beauty when exposed to it as it feels the campfire or sunshine, entering not by the eyes alone, but equally through all one’s flesh like radiant heat, making a passionate ecstatic pleasure glow not explainable.”

164. “I ran home in the moonlight with firm strides; for the sun-love made me strong.”

165. “The wrongs done to trees, wrongs of every sort, are done in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, for when the light comes, the heart of the people is always right.”

166. “Here are the roots of all the life of the valleys, and here more simply than elsewhere is the eternal flux of nature manifested.”

167. “You are yourself a Sequoia. Stop and get acquainted with your brethren. It will do you good.”

168. “Anyhow we never know where we must go, nor what guides we are to get – people, storms, guardian angels, or sheep.”

169. “… every sight and sound inspiring, leading one far out of himself, yet feeding and building up his individuality.”

170. “If for a moment you are inclined to regard these taluses as mere draggled, chaotic dumps, climb to the top of one of them, and run down without any haggling, puttering hesitation, boldly jumping from boulder to boulder with even speed. You will then find your feet playing a tune, and quickly discover the music and poetry of these magnificent rock piles – a fine lesson; and all Nature’s wildness tells the same story – the shocks and outbursts of earthquakes, volcanoes, geysers, roaring, thundering waves and floods, the silent uprush of sap in plants, storms of every sort – each and all are the orderly beauty-making love-beats of Nature’s heart.”

171. “In the beauty and grandeur of individual trees, and in number and variety of species, the Sierra forests surpass all others.”

172. “Over the summit, I saw the so-called Mono desert lying dreamily silent in the thick, purple light – a desert of heavy sun-glare beheld from a desert of ice-burnished granite.”

173. “Never while anything is left of me shall this… camp be forgotten. It has fairly grown into me, not merely as memory pictures, but as part and parcel of mind and body alike.”

174. “He was one of the sincerest tree-lovers I ever knew. About twenty years before his death he made choice of a plot in the Yosemite cemetery on the north side of the Valley, not far from the Yosemite Fall, and selecting a dozen or so of seedling sequoias in the Mariposa grove he brought them to the Valley and planted them around the spot he had chosen for his last rest. The ground there is gravelly and dry; by careful watering he finally nursed most of the seedlings into good, thrifty trees, and doubtless they will long shade the grave of their blessed lover and friend.”

175. “Having escaped restraint, they were, like some people we know of, afraid of their freedom, did not know what to do with it, and seemed glad to get back into the old familiar bondage.”

176. “We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us. Our flesh-and-bone tabernacle seems transparent as glass to the beauty about us, as if truly an inseparable part of it, thrilling with the air and trees, streams and rocks, in the waves of the sun, a part of all nature, neither old nor young, sick nor well, but immortal.”

177. “Every morning, arising from the death of sleep, the happy plants and all our fellow animal creatures great and small, and even the rocks, seemed to be shouting, “Awake, awake, rejoice, rejoice, come love us and join in our song. Come! Come!”

178. “It is always interesting to see people in dead earnest, from whatever cause, and earthquakes make everybody earnest.”

179. “Lake McDonald, full of brisk trout, is in the heart of this forest, and Avalanche Lake is ten miles above McDonald, at the feet of a group of glacier-laden mountains. Give a month at least to this precious reserve. The time will not be taken from the sum of your life.”

180. “Fortunately, wrong cannot last. Soon or late it must fall back home to Hades, while some compensating good must surely follow.”

181. “It was the afternoon of the day and the afternoon of his life, and his course was now westward down all the mountains into the sunset. [speaking about Ralph Waldo Emerson]”

182. “He had gone to the higher Sierras… [about Ralph Waldo Emerson’s death]”

183. “The finest of the glacier meadow gardens lie… imbedded in the upper pine forests like lakes of light.”

184. “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.”

185. “I have never yet happened upon a trace of evidence that seemed to show that any one animal was ever made for another as much as it was made for itself.”

186. “If people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.”

187. “But it is in the darkest nights, when storms are blowing and the agitated waves are phosphorescent, that the most impressive displays are made.”

188. “Now comes sundown. The west is all a glory of color transfiguring everything. Far up the Pilot Peak Ridge the radiant host of trees stand hushed and thoughtful, receiving the Sun’s good-night, as solemn and impressive a leave-taking as if sun and trees were to meet no more. The daylight fades, the color spell is broken, and the forest breathes free in the night breeze beneath the stars.”

189. “Visions of ineffable beauty and harmony, health and exhilaration of body and soul, and grand foundation lessons in Nature’s eternal love are the sure reward of every earnest looker in this glorious wilderness.”

190. “As for the Mormons one meets, however their doctrines be regarded, they will be found as rich in human kindness as any people in all our broad land, while the dark memories that cloud their earlier history will vanish from the mind as completely as when we bathe in the fountain azure of the Sierra.”

191. “The snow on the high mountains is melting fast, and the streams are singing bank-full, swaying softly through the level meadows and bogs, quivering with sun-spangles, swirling in pot-holes, resting in deep pools, leaping, shouting in wild, exulting energy over rough boulder dams, joyful, beautiful in all their forms. No Sierra landscape that I have seen holds anything truly dead or dull, or any trace of what in manufactories is called rubbish or waste; everything is perfectly clean and pure and full of divine lessons. This quick, inevitable interest attaching to everything seems marvelous until the hand of God becomes visible; then it seems reasonable that what interests Him may well interest us.”

192. “Learn to live like the wild animals.”

193. “He (the Douglas squirrel) is the most influential of the Sierra animals, quick mountain vigor and valor condensed, purely wild, and as free from disease as a sunbeam.”

194. “Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of that unit – the cosmos?”

195. “Though it is 2500 feet high, the glacier flowed over its ground as a river flows over a boulder; and since it emerged from the icy sea as from a sepulcher it has been sorely beaten with storms; but from all those deadly, crushing, bitter experiences comes this delicate life and beauty, to teach us that what we in our faithless ignorance and fear call destruction is creation.”

196. “When I was a child in Scotland, I was fond of everything that was wild, and all my life I’ve been growing fonder and fonder of wild places and wild creatures. Fortunately, around my native town of Dunbar, by the stormy North Sea, there was no lack of wildness…”

197. “The groves and thickets of smaller trees are full of blooming evergreen vines. These vines are not arranged in separate groups, or in delicate wreaths, but in bossy walls and heavy, mound-like heaps and banks. Am made to feel that I am now in a strange land. I know hardly any of the plants, but few of the birds, and I am unable to see the country for the solemn, dark, mysterious cypress woods which cover everything.”

198. “Here I could stay tethered forever with just bread and water, nor would I be lonely; loved friends and neighbors, as love for everything increased, would seem all the nearer however many the miles and mountains between us.”

199. “Night is coming on and I am filled with indescribable loneliness. Felt feverish; bathed in a black, silent stream.”

200. “I tied a crust of bread to my belt, and with Carlo set out for the upper slopes of the Pilot Peak Ridge, and had a good day, notwithstanding the care of seeking the silly runaways.”

201. “To dine with a glacier on a sunny day is a glorious thing and makes common feast of meat and wine ridiculous. The glacier eats hills and sunbeams.”

202. “One fancies a heart like our own must be beating in every crystal and cell, and we feel like stopping to speak to the plants and animals as friendly fellow mountaineers. Nature as a poet, an enthusiastic workingman, becomes more and more visible the farther and higher we go; for the mountains are fountains – beginning places, however related to sources beyond mortal ken.”

203. “But the darkest scriptures of the mountains are illumined with bright passages of love that never fail to make themselves felt when one is alone.”

204. “Thence a charming, wavering course is pursued still northward through the grandest scenery to Tahkou, Juneau, Chilcat, Glacier Bay, and Sitka, affording fine glimpses of the innumerable evergreen islands, the icy mountain-ranges of the coast, the forests, glaciers, etc. The round trip of two thousand miles is made in about twelve days, and costs about a hundred dollars.”

205. “The care-laden commercial lives we lead close our eyes to the operations of God as a workman, though openly carried on that all who will look may see.”

206. “Like everyone else, I was always fond of flowers, attracted by their external beauty and purity. Now my eyes were opened to their inner beauty, all alike revealing glorious traces of the thoughts of God, and leading on and on into the infinite cosmos.”

207. “There is nothing more eloquent in Nature than a mountain stream.”

208. “…feeling sure that I would learn something and at the same time get rid of a severe bronchial cough that followed an attack of the grippe and had troubled me for three months. I intended to camp on the glacier every night, and did so, and my throat grew better every day until it was well, for no lowland microbe could stand such a trip.”

209. “You may be a little cold some nights on mountain tops above the timber-line, but you will see the stars, and by and by you can sleep enough in your town bed. or at least in your grave. Keep awake while you may in mountain mansions so rare.”

210. “In the meantime, the wildest health and pleasure grounds accessible and available to tourists seeking escape from care and dust and early death are the parks and reservations of the West.”

211. “So abundant and novel are the objects of interest in a pure wilderness that unless you are pursuing special studies it matters little where you go, or how often to the same place. Wherever you chance to be always seems at the moment of all places the best; and you feel that there can be no happiness in this world or in any other for those who may not be happy here.”

212. “Then, after a long fireside rest and a glance at my note-book, I cut a few leafy branches for a bed, and fell into the clear, death-like sleep of the tired mountaineer.”

213. “But I had been so lectured by my father above all things to avoid praise that I was afraid to read those kind newspaper notices, and never clipped out or preserved any of them, just glanced at them and turned away my eyes from beholding vanity.”

214. “What can poor mortals say about clouds? While a description of their huge glowing domes and ridges, shadowy gulfs and canyons, and feather-edged ravines is being tried, they vanish, leaving no visible ruins. Nevertheless, these fleeting sky mountains are as substantial and significant as the more lasting upheavals of granite beneath them. Both alike are built up and die, and in God’s calendar difference of duration is nothing. We can only dream about them in wondering, worshiping admiration, happier than we dare tell even to friends who see farthest in sympathy, glad to know that not a crystal or vapor particle of them, hard or sot, is lost; that they sink and vanish only to rise again and again in higher and higher beauty.”

215. “And how after we grow old can we read the Bible without a little helpful science? Just think, father, you cannot read your Bible without spectacles… And spectacles cannot be made without some knowledge of the science of optics.”

216. “You’ll never make up what you lost today I’ve been wandering through a thousand rooms of God’s crystal temple. I’ve been a thousand feet down in the crevasses, with matchless domes and sculpted figures and carved ice-work all about me. Solomon’s marble and ivory palaces were nothing to it. Such purity, such color, such delicate beauty! I was tempted to stay there and feed my soul, and softly freeze, until I would become part of the glacier. What a great death that would be.”

217. “Some of the silly sheep got caught fast in a tangle of chaparral this morning, like flies in a spider’s web, and had to be helped out. Carlo found them and tried to drive them from the trap by the easiest way. How far above sheep are intelligent dogs! No friend and helper can be more affectionate and constant than Carlo. The noble St. Bernard is an honor to his race.”

218. “I drifted on through the midst of this passionate music and motion, across many a glen, from ridge to ridge; often halting in the lee of a rock for shelter, or to gaze and listen. Even when the grand anthem had swelled to its highest pitch, I could distinctly hear the varying tones of individual trees […] and even the infinitely gentle rustle of the withered grasses at my feet. Each was expressing itself in its own way, – singing its own song, and making its own peculiar gestures – manifesting a richness of variety to be found in no other forest I have yet seen.”

219. “So far from complete at times is sympathy between parents and children, and so much like wild beasts are baby boys, little fighting, biting, climbing pagans.”

220. “No other excursion that I know of can be made into any of the wild portions of America where so much fine and grand and novel scenery is brought to view at so cheap and easy a price. Anybody may make this trip and be blest by it – old or young, sick or well, soft, succulent people whose limbs have never ripened, as well as sinewy mountaineers; for the climate is kindly, and one has only to breathe the exhilarating air and gaze and listen while being carried smoothly onward over the glassy waters.”

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

Leave a Comment