There wasn’t a tree, leaf or flower that didn’t create a sense of wonder and joy in John Muir. Revered by environmentalists, naturalists, botanists and explorers the world over, he shared his deep fascination with the natural world through his writing and passionate environmental activism. Known by many as ‘John of the Mountains’ and the ‘Father of National Parks’, it’s partly because of his dedication to environmental causes that eventually led to the birth of the National Park Service 100 years ago, dedicated to preserving North America’s national parks. If you haven’t read any of this journals or musings on our world, then I strongly urge you to start, especially if you’re planning a trip to Yosemite National Park, the place where he ‘decided who he was’. In the meantime, here are 20 John Muir quotes to inspire you to get outdoors. Now go on, start building your log cabin in the woods.
The mountains are calling and I must go.
The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.
I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.
Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.
Wander a whole summer if you can…time will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening, it will definitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal.
The world, we are told, was made especially for man — a presumption not supported by all the facts.
Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue.
The snow is melting into music.
Even the sick should try these so-called dangerous passes, because for every unfortunate they kill, they cure a thousand.
None of Nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild.
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.
We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.
Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.
Most people are on the world, not in it — have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them — undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate.
Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods.
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