Apr 20 2011

Overpaid 1000 Times

Tomorrow is the birthday of one of my heroes—John Muir.  Muir was born April 21, 1838 in Dunbar, Scotland.  He would eventually migrate with his family to the United States and become an early advocate for environmental stewardship.  I have long enjoyed reading Muir’s books and dreamed of what it must have been like to walk mountain trails with him.  His spiritual insight into nature has been a great source of inspiration to me.  In honor of John Muir’s 173rd birthday I would like to share the following passages from his unpublished journals.


“And thus we find in the fields of Nature no place that is blank or barren; every spot on land or sea is covered with harvests, and these harvests are always ripe and ready to be gathered, and no toiler is ever underpaid.  Not in these fields, God’s wilds, will you ever hear the sad moan of disappointment, ‘All is vanity.’  No, we are overpaid a thousand times for all our toil, and a single day in so divine an atmosphere of beauty and love would be well worth living for, and at its close, should death come, without any hope of another life, we could still say, ‘Thank you, God for the glorious gift!’ and pass on.”

“All the wild world is beautiful, and it matters but little where we go, to highlands or lowlands, woods or plains, on the sea or land or down among the crystals of waves or high in a balloon in the sky; through all the climates, hot or cold, storms and calms, everywhere and always we are in God’s eternal beauty and love.  So universally true is this, the spot where we chance to be always seems the best, and it requires a distinct effort of the will to get oneself in motion or a change of place.”

Other than Christ himself, I am not sure there has ever been a better guide to “seeing Creation” than John Muir.  I give thanks for his life, writings and example.  I hope many will follow in his steps.


(I took the two images above in John Muir’s beloved Yosemite Valley.)