Indian summer snowfall in the Sierra: John Muir

John Muir wrote poetry almost unconsciously. Or so it seems. For him metaphors — such as the idea of a land of clouds — were embedded in his thinking from his early days, and evolved easily into poems (though they're easier to see with a few line breaks).

Here's an entry in his journal from April 21, l871, refering (I think) to an early snowfall, but also the mutability of natural forms, the flowing from one state of beauty to another: 

In the calm thoughtful Indian summer
when the earlies of the Cloudland meadows are in bloom
they shed their radiant snowflowers
like apple orchards in the spring
in the brown grasses
and tasseled needles of the pines
falling hour after hour
day after day
hither wither
glinting against one another
rays interlocking
lovingly silently

and soon the dry grasses
and the trees
and the moraines
and the meadows
are all equally ablaze again.

Jeff Sullivan, who likes to share his photos on Google+, captures a sense of this in a photo of clouds from the north fork of Bishop Creek early last October, which developed into a big snow days later.  


Like Muir, he urges folks to go see these visions, to get past our fears. Will try soon, I hope.  

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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