Thursday, January 3, 2019

saunter reverently

I don't like either the word [hike] or the thing.
People ought to saunter in the mountains - not 'hike!' 
Do you know the origin of that word saunter?
 It's a beautiful word. Away back in the middle ages 
people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, 
and when people in the villages through which they passed 
asked where they were going they would reply,
 'A la sainte terre', 'To the Holy Land.'
 And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. 
Now these mountains are our Holy Land,
and we ought to saunter through them reverently,
 not 'hike' through them.

― John Muir 


Timothy said...

Love the Sierra Club library of Muir's books online. Was surprised to find out what a racist he was... he wanted all the indigenous people out of Yosemite Valley -- people who had called that home for thousands of years.

It wasn't just to get them out of the park, He denigrated them.

His prose and contribution stand. But he's not on the pedestal he on

Adelia said...

Timothy, how odd and tragic and deeply conflicted we humans can be!
I wonder what his experience was, to cause such animosity toward people who probably shared his values and vision more deeply than most.

Timothy said...

I think he was reflecting a lot of what we see as white racism. The whole Manifest Destiny thing assumes a blank slate and doesn't really mention the bounties that California had for whites coming out for the gold rush to kill Indians.

Teddy Roosevelt had some of the same beliefs.

We're a horrible and wonderful species. But here is something else I learned which I just love. Yosemite Valley used to be home to indigenous tribes who would routinely burn the valley out to keep conifers out of the valley and promote grasslands and what else? Oak woodland habitat that would encourage deer and elk out in the open so they could hunt and eat them after they fattened up on acorns,

Muir is a great lens on our perception of what is wild. And he is 100% right that everything every being is alive.
Sierra Club has posted all Muir's writings online

Thanks for thinking about John. His trip to Alaska has to be one of the best nature adventure stories I have ever read.

Look up Robert Macfarlane if you want a contemporary fine writer who loves going outside

Peace and poetry,