Muir In The Wild

Photo credit: Calvin Kan/Unsplash

Photo credit: Calvin Kan/Unsplash

John Muir might have lived by romantic ideals but as a writer and environmentalist, he experienced America's wilderness more closely than anyone else.

Hiking the forests, ravines and mountains of Sierra Nevada, he explored every inch of Yosemite Valley and voyaged northwards to the glacier-rich terrain of Alaska. His spiritual well-being was tied to nature and he realised our connection to the wild goes far beyond the superficial.

Muir didn’t want the landscapes he loved harmed by industry and believed in creating national parks as a protective measure. Above all, he wanted the wild to be kept wild; not just for himself but for everyone.

John Muir loved nature like a friend. He weathered rainstorms and heavy snowfalls, and was awed by dusk and twilight when all was still. The sun warmed his days and he admired every wild flower that appeared in clearings and alpine meadows before him.

He never took nature's beauty for granted and wrote books that give us insights into how he viewed the wild. The days, months and years he spent outdoors shaped him into a person who deeply cared about the Earth.

In tune with the seasons, he felt more at home in the wilds of northern California than in built-up cities. In the woods, his travelling companions were often the feathered kind and he marvelled at each bird that would stop to visit his campsite.

Muir valued the Earth as much as he valued himself. His relationship with nature was never the norm in comparison to modern city folk who preferred to sleep in comfortable beds, not under the branches of old pine trees.

But Muir’s writing of the wild is what endures and his passion for protecting it is still alive. Not just in me, but anyone who loves the Earth.

Angela Gnyp