John Muir was born on April 21st, 1838 in Scotland. He came to the United States at an early age, and worked as a farmer and inventor on his family’s land in Wisconsin. After leaving the farm, he spent three years in college before dropping out due to wanderlust. Ah… wanderlust. Who hasn’t been there before? I am sad for those that have never experienced it and acted upon it. He was introduced to botany at the university and it sparked a fire in him that was only extinguished by his death in 1914. He died as the countries most famous explorer, naturalist and conservationist. His reputation and influence in the United States is compared to that of Lincoln, Jefferson, Martin Luther King, and many other leaders and important social persons in America. One of his most lasting efforts was co-founding The Sierra Club, one of the countries largest and most active conservationist organizations.
Muir wrote well over 300 articles and ten books on the subject of nature. It was his writings about his 1000 mile walk from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico that inspired me to walk the Appalachian Trail. It was his accounts of his adventures in Alaska that pushed me to spend 6 months there. When I read his descriptions of his first visit to the Yosemite Valley in California it made me not only wish I could have witnessed such a place before man got their hands on it, but to do anything I could to preserve and protect and appreciate the beauty in the world around me.
You’ve gotta appreciate the beauty and power of nature. There’s nothing like a sunset at the Grand Canyon. Or the view from the top of Snoqualmie Falls. Or standing waist deep in the Shenandoah River as bald eagles fly above your head. Or peering across one of the Great Lakes. Or standing at the base of a Sequoia tree. Dag! There are too many to list here. I can’t wait to experience more.
So this April 21st, I hope you honor John Muir in some way or another. If you don’t know much about him, go learn something. Read one of his articles or books. Tell a friend about this great man that they may have never heard of because they inexplicably don’t teach about him in the schools. Or just stare at the sky, or a tree, or a flower, or the grass. And think about how amazing and beautiful it is. And how John Muir tried his hardest to make us understand its importance.