“You are going on a strange journey this time, my friend. I don't envy you. You'll have a hard time keeping your heart light and simple in the midst of this crowd of madmen. Instead of the music of the wind among the spruce-tops and the tinkling of the waterfalls, your ears will be filled with the oaths and groans of these poor, deluded, self-burdened men. Keep close to Nature's heart, yourself; and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean from the earth-stains of this sordid, gold-seeking crowd in God's pure air. It will help you in your efforts to bring to these men something better than gold. Don't lose your freedom and your love of the Earth as God made it.”
Naturalist John Muir said the above to clergyman Samuel Hall Young following their adventures in Alaska. This quote was recounted by Young in his 1915 book “Alaska Days with John Muir.” In the book, Muir illuminates the mind of Young with a million nuggets of wisdom like the above, and even saves him after a fall down a precipice — with his teeth!
I think we can all remember Muir’s words when we feel like the world becomes a bit too much for us. Think of these lines while in stuck traffic, walking down the sidewalk behind annoying tourists, wandering the shopping mall, or just too caught up in your head. Escape the “groans of these poor, deluded, self-burdened men” and find a place to reflect, and most importantly, create.