The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
The mountains are calling and I must go.
I am learning to live close to the lives of my friends without ever seeing them. No miles of any measurement can separate your soul from mine.
The radiance in some places is so great as to be fairly dazzling . . . every crystal, every flower a window opening into heaven, a mirror reflecting the Creator.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings: Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine into flowers, the winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms, their energy and cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitiable than on death. ... Let children walk with nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory, for it never fights.
It seems strange that visitors to Yosemite should be so little influenced by its novel grandeur, as if their eyes were bandanged and their ears stopped. Most of those I saw yesterday were looking down as if wholly unconscious of anything going on about them, while the sublime rocks were trembling with the tones of the mighty changing congregation of waters gathered from all the mountains round about, making music that might draw angels out of heaven ... God himself is preaching his sublimest water and stone sermons!
This time it is real — all must die, and where could mountaineer find a more glorious death!
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.
Yet how hard most people work for mere dust and ashes and care, taking no thought of growing in knowledge and grace, never having time to get in sight of their own ignorance.
Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.
John Muir, Earth — planet, Universe [Muir's home address, as inscribed on the inside front cover of his first field journal]
Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.
How terribly downright must be the utterances of storms and earthquakes to those accustomed to the soft hypocrisies of society.
The wild Indian power of escaping observation, even where there is little or no cover to hide in, was probably slowly acquired in hard hunting and fighting lessons while trying to approach game, take enemies by surprise, or get safely away when compelled to retreat.
Under the Timber and Stone Act of 1878, which might well have been called the 'Dust and Ashes Act,' any citizen of the United States could take up one hundred and sixty acres of timber land and, by paying two dollars and a half an acre for it, obtain title.
The more I see of deer, the more I admire them as mountaineers. They make their way into the heart of the roughest solitudes with smooth reserve of strength, through dense belts of brush and forest encumbered with fallen trees and boulder piles, across canons, roaring streams, and snow-fields, ever showing forth beauty and courage.
During my first years in the Sierra, I was ever calling on everybody within reach to admire them, but I found no one half warm enough until Emerson came. I had read his essays, and felt sure that of all men he would best interpret the sayings of these noble mountains and trees. Nor was my faith weakened when I met him in Yosemite.
Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose we came from the woods originally. But in some of nature's forests, the adventurous traveler seems a feeble, unwelcome creature; wild beasts and the weather trying to kill him, the rank, tangled vegetation, armed with spears and stinging needles, barring his way and making life a hard struggle.