The wild connection in our hearts - John Muir's story
Our founder and curator, Tim, on July's featured read 'My First Summer in the Sierra' by the legendary writer and environmentalist John Muir.
I have a confession to make. In the early days of Adventurous Ink, one of our then ambassadors Gordon Stovin, coined the hashtag #nosemite, as-in 'no-Yosemite'. This was his pithy summary of a conversation about how great the UK outdoor community was and a sense our American cousins had somewhat sidelined it with their big walls and tall trees.
But now, the time has come to put such lighthearted parochialisms aside and recognise that Yosemite is truly exceptional, thanks almost solely to the work of this July's featured author John Muir. His first book and our July feature, My First Summer in the Sierra, recounts the rapture of his first season in the cathedral-like canyon.
And when they are fairly within the mighty walls of the temple and hear the psalms of the falls, they will forget themselves and become devout. Blessed, indeed, should be every pilgrim in these holy mountains!
This wilderness that Muir loved so intensely is a place we can all find without the need for transatlantic travel or pre-booked accommodation. And somewhat magically, it turns out that all the world's wild places are connected through our hearts; something Muir felt keenly even in a very different era almost 150 years.
Just this past month, I headed out to celebrate the solstice with a night under the stars; out there, I felt connected to everyone else in their own wild space as I tried to feel the planet spinning beneath me in the lengthening shadows of the longest day.
As I made my way upwards, a giant arm of Ilkley Moor reached through the trees shading the steep incline, tearing away the veneer of civilisation and pulling me into the wild.
I could feel its pull, the eternal allure, yanking me out of the fertile, cultivated and populated valley floor and up into something wilder.
Long before JK Rowling conjured the idea of a Portkey, I was well aware that certain natural objects could instantly transport you to another world; rocky outcrops, flowering gorse bushes, boulders lodged in streams, and heather-covered moorlands are my magical portals. They always draw me in and take me somewhere else.
All our books capture this spirit of glorious moments in the great outdoors, but Muir did it first. And many would say, best.
Every day this month we'll be sharing a Muir quote, but only from this book, because when the writing is THIS good, it would be a trasvesty not to make a song and dance about it.
Even the rocks seemed to be shouting, ‘Awake, awake, rejoice, rejoice, come love us and join in our song. Come! Come!’
Start any subscription in July and get a free copy of John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra. Just use the code FIRSTINK.
Hear more from the book, in Tim's latest remote reading...
David Mark from Pixabay