A Prayer to John Muir

i wish i could remember when i first spoke his name or picked up a book filled with his words, but i can’t… i know though that he touched my soul and changed my world, and i guess i slowly became a disciple of his teachings…. slowly his books filled my shelves as i read and reread these books…. in knew Yosemite was his garden and i also knew i eventually would have to experience his world for myself…. my first journey to Yosemite will always be remembered, it was early June and there was still snow in the high country… Yosemite Valley with it’s sheer walls of granite held me in a dream-like world…. after a week in the backcountry i headed down to Yosemite Valley to send a few days before i journeyed home… these words were taken from my journal written during that trip….

a prayer to John Muir.

i like to think it was he who led me down this path……other destinations i had in mind, yet no other would have moved me so, -for upon this path that i did journey a granite boulder with a bronze plaque did i find….”Climb the mountains and get their glad tidings…”hymns of praise that Muir spoke,f from this spot, John built and lived in a cabin for several years…. even though the cabin no longer stands, i’m sure his door and porch faced the falls of Yosemite…. i’ve tried to stand as he would of and admire this creation…. and from my many travels i stood at other places that John had stood, along the hot and dusty trail that boldly descends a canyon… there sits a lonely shelter, he had also taken refuge from the heat of the relentless sun and talked with a friend, yet when i sat there not even his spirit could i feel… yet as i now stood and threw my head upwards to admire the heavenly waters of the falls, i felt john with me… if we now took a walk through his backyard would a tear of happiness or sorrow appear, i wonder…
now the soft valley meadows of his garden have been harden by the paths of man… where there is a conflict between restoration, preservation and development… is the development and restoration for its preservation or is it all just an ugly exploitation… John, this valley that you walked and loved is slowly being torn apart and i fear for it’s future… they all come as we did though, for to admire this creation yet their admiration is of a different beat and slowly the valley changes… but fear not John, for a day’s walk into the woods, and a good day’s walk it must be, one can find your spirit with every voyager who wanders the trails…. stop to feel the bark on a tree…. take the time to count the rings of a fallen tree…. to step around so as not to crush a newly formed flower…. to sit upon the granite and feel the polished surface, the warmth from a hot afternoon sun…. or to feel the silent coolness of the coming of the night… to stand in a silence admire a creek, the pebbles an assortment of colors and shapes that sparkle in the cool and clear bronze waters…. John you would of loved the Merced this time of year, for it ran with such a force and beauty that you could not help but be hypnotize by it’s power…. and John i too sat by the fire at night, like often you did and became absorbed in this display of colors, for the flames were not just oranges and blues but laced with every color of the rainbow… John i sat upon the ground often to do nothing but to feel it’s comfort… i would read and even write of it’s beauty… how many pine cones did i touch, the sap still sticky to the touch… John, Yosemite is still in the back country, and yes it’s well-traveled but the caretakers all are of your spirit, after all John, if not for you our paths may never have crossed in this garden… so as i prepare to leave with the rising sun and though my feelings are mixed as to the pictures that were painted before me in this valley, i’ll choose to remember a distant river that flowed with your wild spirit downward from the snow covered peaks, through canyons carved in granite, cascading yet flowing so proudly…. i’ll see the granite domes with the fading sun setting low in the summer sky… the tall pines reaching upwards to the heavens while fallen warriors are now waiting out their last years….. and that special silent spot…. from where you stood countless times, the magic of Yosemite Falls…. thank you John
jtalarico 6/9/91

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