John Muir Wilderness Essays

But he lingered, tending a flock of sheep in the Sierra foothills at Twenty Hill Hollow through the winter of 1868, exhilarated by the unexpected beauty of the California spring ("Here, Here is Florida! One day, with the hills erupting with new plant life, Muir had an experience of the Hollow suddenly overflowing with sunlight Yosemite rediscovered In June, Muir accepted an opportunity to accompany a flock of 2,500 sheep into the Sierra high country for summer grazing, having been assured that he would have ample time to explore, botanize, sketch and write.We work hard - with a small budget and tiny editorial team - to bring you the wide-ranging, independent journalism we know you value and enjoy, but we need your help.Please make a donation to support The Ecologist is the world’s leading environmental affairs platform.Wherever possible, we have cited the original publisher and publication date; readers should look for recent editions, be they print or online.Erik Hage is the chair of the department of liberal studies at the State University of New York at Cobleskill and an associate professor of journalism, communication, and English.Because this essay focuses on wilderness texts, many writers occupied with tamer nature or the natural world in general—for example, Susan Fenimore Cooper and John Burroughs—are not part of the discussion.Most of this essay is concerned with primary texts based on wilderness contact, but the essay concludes with a section devoted to a few of the many secondary sources that engage the works of these writers and/or explore cultural and societal perceptions of wilderness.His forefinger traced an arc through the deep South of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia, and finally pausing along the Florida Gulf coast a thousand miles away. A lover of wild nature, Muir had long fantasized about visiting Florida, the A self-taught mechanical genius and trained botanist, Muir had been offered a lucrative partnership in an Indianapolis machine works and had been tempted to accept it, but at the risk of abandoning his lifelong dream of exploring the wilds of the Southern hemisphere.Only the clarity drawn from an accident six months earlier that had nearly blinded him had given him the resolve to abandon convention, renounce the prospect of wealth and success, and go into the American wilderness. Along with his plant press, he took with him a botany text, Milton's 'Paradise Lost', a Bible, and a journal that would serve both as field log for botanical observations and a record of his immersion in a While Muir took immense delight in the natural beauty he found in the untamed wilds he passed through on his way to Florida, he was unprepared for the darkness, social isolation and outright enmity he experienced as a northerner passing through the landscapes of the deep South two years after the end of the Civil War-including walking inadvertently along the actual route taken by General William Sherman on his scorched-earth campaign through the Georgia heartland.Our aim is to educate and inform as many people as possible about the wonders of nature, the crisis we face and the best solutions and methods in managing that crisis. The website is owned and published by The Resurgence Trust, an educational charity. The views expressed in the articles published on this site may not necessarily reflect those of the trust, its trustees or its staff.The year 2014 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which established a federal preservation system and denoted wilderness as “an area where the Earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain” and as an area “retaining its primeval character and influence without permanent improvements or human habitation.” A half century later, the contact between civilization and wilderness remains a vital area of study—one best negotiated through writing that explores the relationships between the US’s wildest spaces and individuals, communities, and society in general.


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