This week marks the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day (April 22). It also marks the 172nd birthday of naturalist and writer John Muir (April 21, 1838-December 24, 1914).
Muir has been called the patron saint of the American wilderness and the father of the American national park system. He was also a wanderer. Drawn by his fierce love of wild nature, he walked thousands of miles exploring mountains, forests, deserts, and glaciers. His wandering took him through the Appalachians and the Sierra, to Alaska, Siberia, South America, and Africa.
Most Americans would never travel to the places he did. But his eloquent words painted for them what he saw. His words helped them see in a new way the majesty of a tree, the wonder of a sunrise, and the soaring joy of a mountain top view. Muir's writing changed forever the way people saw the world around them. Isn't that the highest goal of any writer?
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strenth to body and soul." --John Muir