Sorry for missing John Muir Day – what a man. Tomorrow – Nan Shepherd

As I stopped the wind was wisping across the loch and the spray was soaking me at times. It was surreal with the light times but magical as well. The tree roots are amazing down by the loch worn,bent, open to the elements and yet the trees were huge towering above and swaying in the wind. Trees things we take for granted and for years I never appreciated them. I only discovered John Muir about 20 years ago and on a trip to Yosemite I was amazed how much the Americans hold him in respect.  Seeing the great trees in the park was humbling and you can see why he fought so hard to save them from being cut down.
In the Yosemite theatre I watched a few plays on John Muir and his work and it was incredible being in the park where he walked and got so much inspiration. Lee Stetson who plays John Muir was wonderful and I watched every show he did in my 6 weeks visit.
Lee Stetson who plays John Muir
Yet I was never taught about this great man at school, of his writings and his environmental views. He took on the establishment and the industrialisation of many specail places in the USA. I love these tales and when I watch my grand kids climbing trees I think of him. What would he make of the Wind – Farms all over Scotland, the rubbish in the seas and wild places and the Freedom of Access we have in Scotland nowadays? John Muir is now respected in his own land and the young folk are taught about his great work at school. His  views  and writing through education and work of  the John Muir Trust.   https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/
The John Muir Trust is a conservation charity dedicated to protecting and enhancing wild places in the UK
John Muir
John Muir (1838 – 1914) was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is now one of the most important conservation organizations in the United States. One of the best-known hiking trails in the U.S., the 211-mile (340 km) John Muir Trail, was named in his honor. Other such places include Muir Woods National Monument, Muir Beach, John Muir College, Mount Muir, Camp Muir and Muir Glacier.
A true Renaissance man, Muir was: inventor, mountaineer, explorer, botanist, geologist, nature-writer and environmental campaigner; many would add: Christian-mystic, visionary and wilderness-sage. His writings are the fountain-head from which the American conservation movement erupted, setting the agenda, the ethos and the argument for the creation of a vast National Park system. Muir did more than simply describe the grizzly bears, the giant redwoods and luminous landscapes of California’s High Sierra; as the founder of the Sierra Club, his endless campaigns saved them for all posterity. This new selection includes Muir’s finest autobiographical books: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth and My First Summer in the Sierra along with the best of his climbing and conservation essays from: The Mountains of California, Our National Parks, The Yosemite and Steep Trails. It offers a rounded portrait of Muir as a giant of American letters; of a visionary, whose passionate defence of ‘everything that is Wild’, still reverberates through today’s environmental movement, inspiring new generations of activists and all who love the natural world.
In his later life, Muir devoted most of his time to the preservation of the Western forests. He petitioned the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. The spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature expressed in his writings inspired readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas. He is today referred to as the “Father of the National Parks” and the National Park Service has produced a short documentary about his life.
Muir’s biographer, Steven J. Holmes, believes that Muir has become “one of the patron saints of twentieth-century American environmental activity,” both political and recreational. As a result, his writings are commonly discussed in books and journals, and he is often quoted by nature photographers such as Ansel Adams. “Muir has profoundly shaped the very categories through which Americans understand and envision their relationships with the natural world,” writes Holmes. Muir was noted for being an ecological thinker, political spokesman, and religious prophet, whose writings became a personal guide into nature for countless individuals, making his name “almost ubiquitous” in the modern environmental consciousness. According to author William Anderson, Muir exemplified “the archetype of our oneness with the earth”.
Muir was extremely fond of Henry David Thoreau and was probably influenced more by him than even Ralph Waldo Emerson. Muir often referred to himself as a “disciple” of Thoreau. He was also heavily influenced by fellow naturalist John Burroughs.
During his lifetime John Muir published over 300 articles and 12 books. He co-founded the Sierra Club, which helped establish a number of national parks after he died and today has over 1.3 million members. Author Gretel Ehrlich states that as a “dreamer and activist, his eloquent words changed the way Americans saw their mountains, forests, seashores, and deserts.” He not only led the efforts to protect forest areas and have some designated as national parks, but his writings gave readers a conception of the relationship between “human culture and wild nature as one of humility and respect for all life,” writes author Thurman Wilkins.
His philosophy exalted wild nature over human culture and civilization. Turner describes him as “a man who in his singular way rediscovered America. . . . an American pioneer, an American hero.” Wilkins adds that a primary aim of Muir’s nature philosophy was to challenge mankind’s “enormous conceit,” and in so doing, he moved beyond the Transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau to a “biocentric perspective on the world.”
John Muir what a man please spread the word! He was a man who loved nature and fought for it taking on politicians and Industry we need men and women like John Muir nowadays. Never take what we have for granted there are many who will sadly take it all away bit by bit.
Comments welcome.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Books, Friends, Health, People, Plants, Views Political?, Weather, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.