“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.”
“But in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” -- John Muir
Although I had a vague notion of what John Muir did and stood for during his lifetime, I just recently began to get a broader understanding of how important his contributions to wilderness preservation were. His activism helped ensure the preservation of the Yosemite Vally, Sequoia National Forest and other irreplaceable wilderness areas. He petitioned the U.S. Congress for the national parks bill that established Yosemite National Park in 1890. He also founded the Sierra Club. Muir didn't just talk about wilderness; he explored it on foot, walking thousands of miles during his explorations. He lived in the Yosemite Valley. He was a powerful and tireless advocate for wilderness.
|A giant sequoia|
Every visit to the mountains reminds me yet again of how much I value wilderness. I mentioned to one of our trip leaders that I wish someone could bottle the feeling and especially the scent of the forest so I could fill my house with it.
|Yosemite Valley as seen from Glacier Point|
Sadly, the battle to preserve our vanishing wilderness continues to this day, more than 100 years after Muir's death. As he predicted, "The battle for conservation must go on endlessly.
It is part of the universal warfare between right and wrong.”
Not everybody is comfortable outdoors, hiking the trails, climbing mountains and drinking in the beauty of nature. But I strive to heed Muir's words to "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 off like autumn leaves.”