by Jane St. Clair
Yosemite National Park with its waterfalls and mountains and trees is the place where you stop wanting or needing anything more. It’s where you’re meant to be. When you’re in Yosemite, you keep looking up and wondering, “How can any place be so perfectly and elegantly beautiful?” … I’ve fallen in love with Yosemite National Park and the way John Muir writes about it.
Yosemite in the Words of John Muir
No temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite. Every rock in its walls seems to glow with life. Some lean back in majestic repose; others, absolutely sheer or nearly so for thousands of feet, advance beyond their companions in thoughtful attitudes, giving welcome to storms and calms alike, seemingly aware, yet heedless, of everything going on about them. Awful in stern, immovable majesty, how softly these rocks are adorned.
Here stands Nature’s cathedrals, hewn from the living rock, almost conventional in form, nobly adorned with spires and pinnacles, thrilling under floods of sunshine as if alive like a grove-temple …
No where will you see the majestic operations of Nature more clearly revealed beside the frailest, most gentle and peaceful things than in Yosemite.
Nearly all Yosemite is a profound solitude. Yet it is full of charming company, full of God’s thoughts,a place of peace and safety amid the most exalted grandeur and eager enthusiastic action, a new song, a place of beginning abounding in the first lessons of life, mountain-building,
eternal, invincible, unbreakable order, with sermons in stones, storms, trees, flowers and animals brimful of humanity.
This was the most sublime waterfall flood I ever saw — clouds, winds, rocks, waters, throbbing together as one. … In Hetch Hetchy Valley and the great King’s River Yosemite, thousands of rejoicing flood waterfalls were charging together in jubilee dress. And the winds were singing in wild accord, playing on every tree and rock, surging against the huge brows and domes and outstanding battlements …
As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.