wildness in nature tagged posts

The Hope in Wildness: A Poetic Homage to John Muir

“In God’s wildness is the hope of the world,”
wrote John Muir while tramping through Alaska on
a long mission to meet that hope on its own terms.
Not to snub the majesty of perfect sunsets,
Muir might hasten to add, but is there a
nobler expression of divine enchantment,
of a super-charged world ripe and
overflowing with portent and awe,
than a severely blackened sky followed by
cascades of lightning against its canvas?

Or even in suburbia, biking in a hot howling wind,
when one forsakes actually getting anywhere, but
instead peddles slowly, mouth agape at neighborhood
trees gone horizontal under relentless gusts.

One is given to laughter in these moments,
marveling at the audacity of us humans,
all puffed up in our self-importance,
Charlie Chaplin characters marching up to
Brawny Nature and proclaiming our freedom
from its transgressions with the bulwarks of
our houses and stores, bricks and concret...

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John Muir and the Wild Calm Within

Why do I always feel, when I am meandering about in the mountains, so wildly free and self-possessed, and at the same time so puny and insignificant? Does the vastness and majesty of the setting release some heretofore unknown chemical that allows me to settle contentedly into my niche as a speck of cosmic dust, desiring nothing more than to exist in this moment of plain clarity and calm?

These are questions the naturalist John Muir may well have asked himself at age 30 when he nixed an offer of a partnership in an Indiana machine shop that made wagon wheels and set out to discover the world. He first headed to Florida on a 1,000-mile walk and eventually crossed back over the continent toward the Sierra Nevada Mountains, over which he was to spend much of the rest of his life tramping...

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