Quote 27

On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.  It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside.  His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.

Today’s quote

Nature has many ways of thinning and pruning and trimming her forests, – lightning-strokes, heavy snow, and storm-winds to shatter and blow down whole trees here and there or break off branches as required.  The results of these methods I have observed in different forests, but only once have I seen pruning by rain.  The rain froze on the trees as it fell and grew so thick and heavy that many of them lost a third or more of their branches.  The view of the woods after the storm had passed and the sun shone forth was something never to be forgotten.  Every twig and branch and rugged trunk was encased in pure crystal ice, and each oak and hickory and willow became a fairy crystal palace.  Such dazzling brilliance, such effects of white light and irised light glowing and flashing I had never seen before, nor have I since.  This sudden change of the leafless woods to glowing silver was, like the great aurora, spoken of for years, and is one of the most beautiful of the many pictures that enriches my life.  And besides the great shows there were thousands of others even in the coldest weather manifesting the utmost fineness and tenderness of beauty and affording noble compensation for hardship and pain.

 

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Quote 26

On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.  It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside.  His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.

Today’s quote

The very best oak and hickory fuel was embarrassingly abundant and cost nothing but cutting and common sense; but … the only fire for the whole house was the kitchen stove, with a fire-box about eighteen inches long and eight inches wide and deep, – scant space for three or four small sticks, around which in hard zero weather all the family of ten persons shivered, and beneath which in the morning we found our socks and coarse, soggy boots frozen solid.  We were not allowed to start even this despicable little fire in its black box to thaw them.

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Quote 25

On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.  It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside.  His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.

Today’s quote

In winter father came to the foot of the stairs and called us at six o’clock to feed the horses and cattle, grind axes, bring in wood, and do any other chores required, then breakfast, and out to work in the mealy, frosty snow by daybreak, chopping, fencing, etc.  So in general our winter work was about as restless and trying as that of the long-day summer.  No matter what the weather, there was always something to do.  During heavy rains or snow-storms we worked in the barn, shelling corn, fanning wheat, thrashing with the flail, making axe-handles or ox-yokes, mending things, or sprouting and sorting potatoes in the cellar.

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Quote 24

On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.  It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside.  His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.

Today’s quote

In summer the chores were grinding scythes, feeding the animals, chopping stove-wood, and carrying water up the hill from the spring on the edge of the meadow, etc.  Then breakfast, and to the harvest or hay-field.  I was foolishly ambitious to be first in mowing and cradling, and by the time I was sixteen led all the hired men.  An hour was allowed at noon for dinner and more chores we stayed in the field until dark, then supper, and still more chores, family worship, and to bed; making altogether a hard, sweaty day of about sixteen or seventeen hours.  Think of that, ye blessed eight-hour-day laborers!

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Quote 23

On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.  It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside.  His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.

Today’s quote

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. All hale, red-blooded boys are savage, the best and boldest and savagest, fond of hunting and fishing.  But when thoughtless childhood is past, the best rise the highest above all this bloody flesh and sport business, the wild foundational animal dying out day by day, as divine uplifting, transfiguring charity grows in.

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Quote 22

On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.  It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside.  His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.

Today’s quote

Excepting Sundays we boys had only two days of the year to ourselves, the 4th of July and the 1st of January.  Sundays were less than half our own, on account of Bible lessons, Sunday-school lessons and church services; all the others were labour days, rain or shine, cold or warm.  No wonder, then, that our two holidays were precious and that it was not easy to decide what to do with them.  They were usually spent on the highest rocky hill in the neighborhood, called the Observatory; in visiting our boy friends on adjacent farms to hunt, fish, wrestle, and play games; in reading some new favorite book we had managed to borrow or buy; or in making models of machines I had invented.

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Quote 21

On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.  It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside.  His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.

Today’s quote

Of all our wild neighbors the mosquitoes were the first with which we became very intimately acquainted.  The beautiful meadow lying warm in the spring sunshine, outspread between our lily-rimmed lake and the hill-slope that our shanty stood on, sent forth thirsty swarms of the little gray, speckledy, singing, stinging pests; and how tellingly they introduced themselves! … the surpassing fineness of their taste was best manifested by their enthusiastic appreciation of boys full of lively red blood, and of girls in full bloom fresh from cool Scotland or England.  On these it was pleasant to witness their enjoyment as they feasted.  Indians, we were told, believed that if they were brave fighters they would go after death to a happy country abounding in game, where there were no mosquitoes

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Quote 20

On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.  It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside.  His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.

Today’s quote

Coming direct from school in Scotland while we were still hopefully ignorant and far from tame, – notwithstanding the unnatural profusion of teaching and thrashing lavished upon us, – getting acquainted with the animals about us was a never-failing source of wonder and delight.  At first my father, like nearly all the backwoods settlers, bought a yoke of oxen to do the farm work, and as field after field was cleared, the number was gradually increased until we had five yoke.  These wise, patient, plodding animals did all the ploughing, logging, hauling, and hard work of every sort for the first four or five years, and, never having seen oxen before, we looked at them with the same eager freshness of conception as we did at the wild animals.

JM4

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Quote19

On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.  It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside.  His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.

Today’s quote

19. None of our fellow mortals is safe who eats what we eat, who in any way interferes with our pleasures, or who may be used for work or food, clothing or ornament, or mere cruel, sportish amusement.  Fortunately many are too small to be seen, and therefore enjoy life beyond our reach.  And in looking through God’s great stone books made up of records reaching back millions and millions of years, it is a great comfort to learn that vast multitudes of creatures, great and small and infinite in number, lived and had a good time in God’s love before man was created.

 

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Quote 18

On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York.  It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside.  His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.

JM3Today’s quote

This sudden plash into pure wildness – baptism in Nature’s warm heart – how utterly happy it made us!  Nature streaming into us, wooingly teaching her wonderful glowing lessons, so unlike the dismal grammar ashes and cinders so long thrashed into us.  Here without knowing it we still were at school; every wild lesson a love lesson, not whipped but charmed into us.  Oh, that glorious Wisconsin wilderness!  Everything new and pure in the very prime of the spring when Nature’s pulses were beating highest and mysteriously keeping time with our own!  Young hearts, young leaves, flowers, animals, the winds and the streams and the sparkling lake, all wildly, gladly rejoicing together!

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