University of Wisconsin / Muir Knoll dedicatory exercises in honor of John Muir
Soon after leaving college
You see the leaf of the locust is made up of several leaflets, and so also is the leaf of the pea. Now taste the locust leaf." I did so and found that it tasted like the leaf of the pea. Nature has used the same seasoning for both, though one is a straggling vine, the other a big tree. "Now, surely you cannot imagine that all these similar char- acteristics are mere coincidences. Do they not rather go to show that the Creator in making the pea vine and the locust tree had the same idea in mind, and that plants are not classed arbitrarily? Man has nothing to do with their classification. Nature has at- tended to all that, giving essential unity with boundless variety, so that the botanist has only to examine plants to learn the har- mony of their relations." This fine lesson charmed me and sent me flying to the woods and meadows in wild enthusiasm. Like everybody else, I was always fond of flowers, attracted by their external beauty and purity. Now my eyes were opened to their inner beauty, all alike revealing glorious traces of the thoughts of God, and leading on and on into the infinite cosmos. I wandered away at every oppor- tunity, making long excursions round the lakes, gathering speci- mens and keeping them fresh in a bucket in my room to study at night after my regular class tasks were learned; for my eyes never closed on the plant glory I had seen. Sarn After Ki autig C'ftege (From Muir's Notes) Oftentimes I had to sleep out without blankets, and also with- out supper or breakfast. But usually I had no great difficulty in finding a loaf of bread in the widely scattered clearings of the farmers. With one of these big backwoods loaves I was able to wander many a long wild mile, free as the winds in the glorious forests and bogs, gathering plants and feeding on God's abounding, in- exhaustible beauty bread.
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