John Muir’s sequoia

April 3, 2009

By Leaves We Live

‘By leaves we live’ is the SPL’s by-line, and we’re always attracted by leafy references. I was surprised to find a quotation from the visionary environmentalist, John Muir, in a recent TLS, that seemed at odds with his dour Scottish upbringing. Muir was born in Dunbar, and in My Boyhood and Youth (1913) he recalled that the Lowland Scots turned every pleasure into a duty, and furthermore made ‘every duty dismal’. But once released into the wild Sierra Nevada, he fell in love with – well, sequoia trees, among others: ‘I wish I was so drunk and sequoical that I could preach the green brown woods to all the juiceless world, descending from this divine wilderness like a John the Baptist eating Douglass squirrels & wild honey or wild anything, crying, Repent for the Kingdom of Sequoia is at hand.’ I’d love to get a letter like that among the bills that arrive in the morning post (although sometimes good poems arrive, too).
~ Robyn


One Response to “John Muir’s sequoia”

  1. […] explains: ‘By Leaves We Live’, the Patrick Geddes phrase which greets the visitor at the library’s entrance, influenced my […]

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