My First Summer in the Sierra
By John Muir. Houghton Mifflin, 1911, 272 pp. Gutenberg Project: The Writings of John Muir, Sierra Edition, Volume II, 1917. With photographs by Herbert W. Gleason and Charles S. Olcott, and sketches by the author.
Was there ever anyone more exhilarated by nature than John Muir?
"Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days," he writes in My First Summer in the Sierra. "Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God."
"How deep our sleep last night in the mountain's heart, beneath the trees and stars, hushed by solemn-sounding waterfalls and many small soothing voices in sweet accord whispering peace."
Not that Muir wants to sleep, amidst all this beauty. "How can I close my eyes on so precious a night?' he asks.
Indeed, at one point he is so overcome by the glorious landscape that he shouts and gesticulates, frightening off a bear, who seems to view him as dangerous.
All the exuberance might all seem a bit much—if it weren't so authentic.