Muir Lodge - An Appreciation
by Mary Frances Kellogg
Of the worship due our western mountains, not a tithe has
been paid. Nor does the finest homage come from tourists poured
into resorts by swarming cities, but from the winnowed few who
behold the snow-girdled peaks, the innumerable mountain lakelets
and the myriads of flower-enameled, fern-brocaded meadows circled
by majestic sequoias. And how many of these elect were imbued
with enthusiasm by John Muir's matchless word-pictures! This
above all is both his legacy to us and his own crown of glory to
have taught us his beauty-lore.
So John Muir has no need of a memorial. Rather do we long to
express, though never so inadequately, the thanks we owe him.
From magnificent glaciers, and forests, and mountains, even down
to our own modest mountain home, all borrow honor from his name.
If that which is essentially material; if that which makes
easeful the mountaineer's toil; if that which cements friendships
of the out-of-doors - if such may stand as an appreciation of one
so predominantly of the spirit, who shunned no privation or
hardship if it brought him into harmony with wildness, whose feet
wandered so much alone and whose passionate search for
understanding of the sculpturing of the ages found so few
kindred souls then Muir Lodge is, as intended, an appreciation of
John Muir. Though he walked alone, he valued friendship as one of
the finest of mortal possessions.
Muir Lodge is a brief home for the wayfarer, ever urging
beyond -- on -- on, up the wonder-trails leading over the heights
and far within the mountain barriers. In its simple plainness it
is appropriate. No complications of thought, language or
character were his. All his life was as openly inspiring as one
of his own books.
John Muir could teach us because, like all great men, he
exemplified a singleness of purpose - a perfect absorption in
that to which he was dedicated. Because he himself reverently
adored, he was able to give to us something of the majesty of the
mountains, the glory of the glaciers, the records of the rocks,
the teachings of the trees, the songs of the streams, the
friendliness of the flowers. Material as these things are they
aroused in John Muir a very white heat of devotion - a devotion
his writings breathe in every line. John Muir's lofty worship,
which thanked God for every good day and each bit of loveliness,
must have been most acceptable to the Maker of the Universe, who
saw that His works were good. Here is a man we may delight to
honor. How the memory of him steadies us when our own
understanding of essentials becomes warped.
The first time I ever saw John Muir he spoke of his intention
to build some day a home close under the Sierra Madre Mountains.
He often later spoke of this longing. And though It was never
our good fortune to have him dwelling among us, et in Muir Lodge
we have a sort of shrine for his spirit, where none may sojourn
without receiving the benediction of the mountains, which John
Muir, more than any other, taught us to know aright. On the wall
his pictured face first greets the entering guest.
Such a true, simple heart could not fail to love to be loved.
At the time of the dedication of Muir Lodge, he wrote, "I'm very
glad to get the picture of the fine Muir Lodge. It's pleasant to
be remembered in this way in the midst of this long-drawn-out
battle for our national parks."
Source: Sierra Club Bulletin,
Vol. 10, No. 1 (1916 January)
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