John Muir and trees

John Muir loved trees. He saw them as true living species, considered that they were hardly moving less than us. In one story he recounts how he climbed to the top of a Douglas spruce to experience the fury of a wind tempest: 

John Muir realized that trees, like us were moving by about the same amount each day while being transported on the back of the Earth through the sky around the sun. When one realizes further that the sun moves around in our galaxy the Milky Way, that the latter is on a collision course with the Andromeda galaxy, one soon understands that we are brought along in a cosmic dance. This could add a layer of meaning to the following sentence of John Muir:

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature he finds it attached to the rest of the world”

This summer after having climbed to 14’320 feet at the top of White Mountain peak in California and having spent a night at its majestic foot, I was stopping here and there on my way down to the Owens valley trying to breathe in as much as possible the surrounding depth and beauty. I could discern all the things around me that my brain was tempted to classify as separated entities, just to observe how much they were nonexistent without their surrounding and how much everything was interconnected. I could notice many dead things, pine cones, pieces of wood, entire trees or their unearthed roots, rocks, which by slowly losing their identity were simply in the process of going back to a larger whole. Visible down below the giant fracture in the earth crust was telling me that this shell, though static and enormous to my eye, was in motion. Perched atop a rock high above the valley floor I could get a sense that the Earth was a ship moving in the sky carrying us along its path. From one step to the next I was reminded of all the various motions mentioned above. A logical mind could only conclude that the sense of life was to prepare itself to go back to the whole, to participate more fully to its movement, or that whole and movement may be one and the same. This was John Muir going to the top of a tree to experience the whirling trajectories brought about by the wind. This should be us in our daily lives, not trying to become a statue, stiff and meaningless, but understanding that our lives will soon be dissipated like morning fog in the open space.




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