well known members of the scientific community were impressed with Muir’s theory and were interested to see his reasoning and evidence. Muir was evenoffered a job at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but John politely declined the position. (Buske 28)In May 1871, Muir was surprised in the valley by the one and only Ralph Waldo Emerson, the very man who influenced Muir in his early years. Many would be interested to know what those two men talked about but unfortunately neither one recorded the meeting, however they did make it clear that they had established a friendship. (Buske 30) Emerson encouragedMuir to accompany him back to the East coast to spread his theory of glacial action. Muir argued to wait for he felt that his work in Yosemite had not yet
Cox 7been completed. Muir and Emerson would send each other gifts, Muir’s usually being botanical samples and Emerson's usually being new books thatoffered valuable information. Emerson even went as far as adding Muir’s name to the list “My Men” or men who had the greatest impact on him. (Wood, 1994)During the 1860’s, nature essays, particularly the ones of Henry David Thoreau and John Burroughs, were gaining popularity. Muir was encouraged by friends to start his own series of essays, however most were concerned about Muir’s lack of polish on his writing style. When Muir did decide to submit an article about his experience in Yosemite Valley, it was instantaneously published by the New York Tribunewhich sparked a fire in Muir’s heart. (Buske 31) Finally in 1872, Muir came down from the mountainsin order to organize his essays and articles and submit them to the Overland Monthlywhich started printing them in April of that year: (Wood, 1994)Muirs piece gives a careful description of the geology of the area,the plants, animals, birds and weather to be found there, but it isthe conclusion that startles. Muir writes that for a visitor, “plain, sky, and mountains ray beauty which you feel. You bathe in thesespirit-beams....Presently you lose consciousness of your own separate existence; you blend with the landscape, and become part and parcel of nature. (Buske 15)
Cox 8Powerful imagery, flawless definitions, and intriguing concepts fuel Muir’s works, giving them an easily readable and enjoyable characteristic. (Buske 32)Muir began writing a series of letters to the San Francisco Bulletin in 1874, reporting his investigations in the Sierra. Muir then made a trip in 1878, traveling from the Sierra to Nevada and finally ending up in Utah, where he wrote rather biased accounts of his meetings with the Mormons, in addition to descriptions of the landscape and the plant life. One of Muir’s most enjoyable experiences occurred on this excursion, he recorded it as a “Great Storm in Utah,” where he spent an exhilarating night clung to a pine tree in the Sierras during a phenomenal wind storm. Muir had once recorded his reaction to an earthquake in Yosemite that left him enthusiastic, afterwhich he received a copious amount of complaints from readers claiming that Muir was insane. (Buske 17) In 1979 along with his last
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