Nature Views and Viewpoints for June

lake "A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. The fluviatile * trees next the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it, and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows."

Henry David Thoreau, in WALDEN

[* meaning "belonging to rivers" - apparently Thoreau had the right type of word but the wrong body of water. WALDEN was published in 1854, and has been described as an autobiography, a venture into philosophy, and a book about nature.]

woods "Then bed-building was vigorously carried on, each selecting willow shoots, pine tassels or withered grass with a zeal and naturalness whose sources must lie somewhere among our ancient grandfathers, when "wild in wood," etc. I have experimented with all kinds of plant pillows with especial reference to softness and fragrance, and here I was so happy as to invent a new one, composed of the leaves and flowers of the alpine dodecahedron, elastic, fragrant and truly beautiful. Here we rested as only mountaineers can.

The wind fell to soft whispers, keen spiky shadows stole over the meadow, and pale rosy light bathed the savage peaks, making a picture of Nature's repose that no words can ever describe. Darkness came, and the night wind began to flow like a deep and gentle river; the cascade nearby sounded all its notes with most impressive distinctness, and the sky glowed with living stars.

Then came the moon, awakening the giant peaks that seemed to return her solemn gaze. The grand beauty of our chamber walls came out in wonderfully clear relief, white light and jet shadows revealing their wild fountain architecture, divested of all distracting details."

From the journals of John Muir, in the collection SOUTH OF YOSEMITE.

[In the mid to late 1800's, Muir traveled and hiked extensively through the mountains of California, especially in the area around what became Yosemite National Park. This excerpt comes from a journal section called "Camping on the Mountain".]

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