john muir: mystic of the american wilderness

PI_GOLBE_MUIR_AP_001Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set:

For five days John Muir tried to seduce Emerson into the wild — the mountains are calling, let us run away! Muir sang to him, let us go to the show! But Emerson’s companions would have none of it. Emerson is too old for nature, they told Muir; he could catch his death of cold. It is only in houses that people catch colds! Muir protested — there is not a single sneeze in the Sierra! The tottering Emerson, tempted, was inclined to agree with his friends.

On the sixth day, the two men rode together through the magnificent forests of the Merced basin. Muir preached to Emerson the gospel of the trees:

I kept calling his attention to the sugar pines, quoting his wood-notes, “Come listen what the pine tree saith,” etc., pointing out the noblest as kings and high priests, the most eloquent and commanding preachers of all the mountain forests, stretching forth their century-old arms in benediction over the worshiping congregations crowded about them. He gazed in devout admiration, saying but little, while his fine smile faded away.

At the moment of their parting, Emerson took off his hat and waved Muir a last goodbye. He continued to send Muir letters and books, and urged Muir not to stay too long in solitude.

more here.