The Wild Muir – A Sort of Review


The Wild Muir Book Review

The Wild Muir was my first selection in my Nature Book of the Month Project. This book just begged to be read aloud so we did just that. Each chapter is actually a selection from one of John Muir’s many books, chosen to make a wonderful collection in this book The Wild Muir.

We didn’t read the chapters in order because we found it was fun to read the chapter titles and then pick one that sounded interesting to us at the moment. We read first thing in the morning with our coffee, or while riding along on a car ride, or sitting outside in our front yard. I can imagine us reading some of these again on a camping trip while sitting around the campfire. John Muir can spin a tale, drawing you along with his words that sounded like poetry at times. He gave interesting details and shared his thoughts about what he saw and experienced. There were a few chapters that gave us a glimpse into his childhood, his early adulthood, and then long into his career as a conservationist.

Many of us would never dream of attempting the many daring explorations that he set out on or dream of pushing ourselves to the physical limits that Muir did during his life. But, we can experience the thrill of hiking up to mountain peaks, across glaciers, far into the Sierra mountains, and swaying on trees in the middle of a huge winter storm.

His words paint such wonderful pictures…here’s a couple quotes:

“At length, all their plans perfected, tufted flakes and single starry crystals come in sight, solemnly swirling and glinting to their blessed appointed places; and soon the busy throng fills the sky and makes darkness like night.”

“As soon as I got out in Heaven’s light I started on another long excursion, making haste with all my heart to store my mind with the Lord’s beauty and thus be ready for any fate, light or dark. And it was from this time that my long continuous wanderings may be said to have fairly commenced.”

I learned some really interesting stuff from reading his book. Who knew learning about frazil ice would lead to some really awesome YouTube videos? I also never really knew how all those round metal plates got placed on the top of mountains and other spots that we have seen on our hiking expeditions…well, they are there in part due to the Coast and Geodetic Survey which mapped and measured such places. I had to look up dozens of plants and flowers that Muir mentioned in the book to see if I knew what they were or had seen them in my travels. I also looked up lots of geological vocabulary like “moulin“.

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I loved this book and highly recommend it as a glimpse into Muir’s life, his writing, and his ideas.

Nature Book Project 2015 @handbookofnaturestudy

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