Happy Birthday, John
Back in 1838 on this day, John Muir was born. He remains the most quotable of all environmentalists, and as the years go by, it's fascinating to see how his quotes take on new dimensions.
One of the most important of all his thoughts, sez me, is a simple question with no answer, about the Sierra and nature and death and immortality, from his journals in August of 1875:
As is so often the case with Muir, this is not a thoroughly worked-out essay, but a jotting in his notebook while in the mountains. Maybe it's not a coincidence that because he was inspired directly by the Sierra, the way a painter is inspired by a landscape, that his thoughts continues to set the imagination of other people afire, and inspire yet more trips to the Sierra, in search of the same inspiration.
Muir's belief in the "good practical immortality" of the Sierra, in other words, led to a good practical immortality for Muir himself. His selflessness helped make him part of the Sierra, forever…and he would, I have no doubt, rather I honor his inspiration than the man, even on his birthday.
In that spirit, he's a pic from one of the great Sierra photographers of today, Buck Forester, who shoots on film, and does not manipulate his image except with lens filters…and also selflessly encourages sharing. Thanks Buck! Here's the Pioneer Basin in the John Muir Wilderness…