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  • mistermuse 12:05 am on September 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , early color film, Henry David Thoreau, , John James Audubon, John Muir, national parks, naturalists, nature, , Theodore Roosevelt,   


    You’ve heard of Charles Darwin. Also, concordantly, Henry David Thoreau. If you’re really into national parks, naturally you’re familiar with John Muir (“Father of the National Parks”). If you have an avian fixation, you’re birds-of-a-feather with John James Audubon, world famous ornithologist and painter of our feathered friends.  But I suspect that the name of John Burroughs probably drew a blank when you saw it in my last post.

    Fame is fickle. In his day, Burroughs (1837-1921) was as well known as any of the above naturalists who remain well remembered today. But, according to biographer Edward Renehan, he was more “a literary naturalist” than a scientific one, which (along with his rejection of religious orthodoxy) may account somewhat for his fading into relative obscurity.  Whatever the case, Burroughs, who was a contemporary of Thoreau and Audubon, a good friend of Muir (as well as of Walt Whitman and Theodore Roosevelt), and has been called “America’s Darwin,” has been left in their shadow. More’s the pity.

    The last of his many books was ACCEPTING THE UNIVERSE (1920), from whence the quote in my 9/20 post. Other quotes I like from Burroughs’ works include these:

    Nature is not moral. There is no moral law until it is born of human intercourse. The law of the jungle begins and ends in the jungle; when we translate it into human affairs, we must take the cruelty of the jungle out of it, and read it in terms of beneficent competition. Man is the jungle humanized.

    The greatest of human achievements and the most precious is that of the creative artist. In words, in color, in sounds, in forms, man comes closest to emulating the Creative Energy itself. It seems as if the pleasure and the purpose of the Creative Energy were endless invention.

    How beautifully the leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.

    Only a living tree drops its fruit or its leaves; only a growing man drops his outgrown opinions.

    I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I close with a curio: a 1919 prizmacolor film of “a day in the life of John Burroughs,” which ends with words wise in the ways of what really matters:

    • arekhill1 12:04 pm on September 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I am already campaigning for Darwin Day as a national holiday for rationalists. They should put this guy on a postage stamp, at least. Thanks for bringing him to our attention Sr. Muse

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 1:37 pm on September 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      An excellent suggestion, Ricardo. Now that America has the “FOREVER” postage stamp, we have a stamp fit for making up to Mr. Burroughs for his country’s forgetfulness.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 4:08 pm on September 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      You never know Muse. Sometimes these type of people come back into vogue. Naturalists might become the subject of some documentary or movie. Hey almost no one had heard of Scott Joplin until that movie The Sting. Till then Muse, you keep them alive.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:55 pm on September 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Among Ken Burns’ many great documentaries was THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA (in which John Muir was a major figure), so it wouldn’t be a stretch for him to do one on naturalists.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mike 8:24 pm on October 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Gifford Pinchot, flawed though he was, created the conservation ethic. He found the way not to wreck the economy of man while at the same time not clearing all the forest in the process.

      He did however oppose Muir a few times and his view was economic only as he didn’t value preservation for the sake of beauty; his biggest flaw in my opinion. Though likely viewed as an enemy by some contemporary conservationists, Pinchot and Teddy Roosevelt did help to get the ball rolling in the process of creating National Parks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:12 pm on October 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for pointing that out. I agree with your opinion of Pinchot’s biggest flaw, but, as they say today, whatever works!

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:10 am on September 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , life journey, nature, , roots, time and distance, , woods   


    Go in our woods and witness the varying fortunes of the trees. How many are diseased or dying at the top or decaying at the root. How many have been mutilated by the fall of other trees. In fact, the fortunes of individual trees are much like those of men and women. –John Burroughs, naturalist, ACCEPTING THE UNIVERSE


    We see roots
    surge through dirt
    in time-lapse photography
    seed to distance
    in mere moments

    but trees understand
    this above all
    as a long
    journey of attachment
    living with the

    vagaries of fate
    knowing that where
    they are now
    is one with
    where now began…..

    • Don Frankel 4:37 am on September 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Good one Muse, good one. They get to know more than we do.

      But you know I have to ask this. You had to know. If you were a tree what kind of a tree would you be?


    • mistermuse 6:32 am on September 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Don, I suspect that trees know more than we do because they’re more grounded….which might lead yew to think I would be a pun tree (a palm tree that can’t pronounce it’s name correctly), but as a practically life-long Ohioan, I should probably choose loyalty over punditree, and be a Buckeye tree.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 7:49 am on September 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I thought you would be a Pundittree. Me, I’m an Oak.


      • mistermuse 12:20 pm on September 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        One thing about being an Oak — you can count on being loved by squirrels (at least, as long as you keep makin’ with the acorns).


    • arekhill1 10:01 am on September 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Me, I’d rather be a vine–grow fast, get around and maybe get in some strangling on the side.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:25 pm on September 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      It might be hard to get away with the strangling part — people might hear it on the grapevine that you did it.

      Liked by 4 people

  • mistermuse 9:51 am on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: frogs, , , nature, , toads   


    Me thinks me heard a splash
    Hard by yon lily pad;
    Me thinks me saw a toad or frog
    (Or was it a crawdad?).

    Who told that toad to shake a leg
    Or seek a change of venue?
    Never, ever, would I put toad
    Or frog legs on my menu.

    Verily, I am but
    A harmless nature lover.
    When I am nigh, or passing by, why
    Must they always jump for cover?

    What bound fools we mortals be
    Who cling in spring to mother earth,
    When we might swim or fly away
    To live ‘nother day for what it’s worth.

    So hear ye, fellow slow pokes
    Such as tortoises and snails,
    Let us sing a song to our friends
    Long gone….so long, and Happy Trails.



    • Mél@nie 2:21 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      nice and interesting poem… I like frogs, so toads, as well… 🙂

      • * *

      @”Verily, I am but
      A harmless nature lover.” – me, too, Sir… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mél@nie 2:35 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        P.S. off-topic, with your permission, Sir: have you ever heard of the international jazz festival in Marciac, Gers, France that takes place every summer since 1978?…

        • * *

        I was there last weekend and I took a few pix of this small town that I could send you – if you agree, of course… thanx in advance for your attention and reply! respectful regards, Mélanie NB

        Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 3:37 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The only French jazz festival I’m familiar with is the one in Nice….probably because it dates back to the late 1940s, and I haven’t kept up with the proliferation of jazz festivals in recent decades – not that I don’t welcome any and all venues that keep classic jazz alive (I’m not really much into bebop and so-called progressive jazz).

      I would be delighted to view your pix, either “exclusively” or as part of one of your fine postings for all to see.


      • Mél@nie 12:49 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        O.K. thanx! I never plan my blog-posts, that’s why my playground is kinda “melting pot”, so I’m gonna send you a few pix from Marciac @ your email address, visible in my dashboard, deal?… 🙂 good mornin’ here in “old Europe” and good night across the Atlantic ocean! c u asap… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jay 8:42 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Wow,youcould get an ode going to all the creatures of my backyard!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 6:51 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      “Truth is riddit and riddit is truth.
      That is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.”
      John Croaker


    • mistermuse 7:02 am on June 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Sad to say, we’re all croakers in the end….which is both ridditulous and true.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 4:49 pm on April 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Earth Day, mountains, nature, , rain forest, ,   



    Holy is the mountain
    To spirits dwelling there;
    Sacred are the living things
    That bide its rise/that ride its air.

    Endless are the glories
    Of rock and spire and space;
    Soulless is the man who
    Would desecrate this place.


    Joyce Kilmer’s poem notwithstanding,
    Most politicians couldn’t care less.
    They don’t know a tree
    From poetry….
    And, if they do, they’re not impressed.

    They think that they shall never see
    A tree lovely as a board….
    Which is fine in moderation
    But rain forest devastation
    Is a plank the earth cannot afford.

    Pray let their eyes be opened —
    Save the forest for the trees.
    A little reflection
    Beyond their election
    Would serve better by degrees.


    • Michaeline Montezinos 9:08 pm on April 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I love this poem, mistermuse. It is one the best (and there are many) that you have ever written.
      In the week after my birthday we have Earth Day and Arbor Day plus April is the month for humor. That somehow reflects on my personality. How perfect is that!


    • mistermuse 6:45 am on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Michaeline. And for the benefit of those who never heard of the poet Joyce Kilmer, it’s understandable that you’d assume he’s a she, but he was a he – born Alfred Joyce Kilmer, and killed by a sniper’s bullet in France during WWI. He was best known for his poem “Trees.”


    • arekhill1 12:44 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I fear the politicians only do what we demand they do, Sr. Muse. The fault is in ourselves.


    • mistermuse 4:06 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      True, but for better or worse, “we” can’t seem to agree. To paraphrase a well-known line from a well-known poem: “Let me count the WEs” — there’s liberal WEs, conservative WEs, libertarian WEs, independent WEs, etc., etc., etc. There’s gridlock in the heated political breeze, and the hot air is enough to make me wheeze!


    • mick 10:13 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Cathedral of the Wild is evocative; meaningful to anyone who as been within the splendor of wilderness. Excellent!


    • mistermuse 10:39 pm on April 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Mick, ’tis like a breath of fresh air to come across you again in our old favorite meeting place, Mother Nature’s realm. I appreciate the comment and hope we cross paths again soon.


    • Don Frankel 5:50 am on April 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Of course Muse, money is made out of paper. I mean their are coins but the big stuff, the stuff with Benjamin Franklin on it, is made out of paper and paper comes from… So perhaps they’ve never have seen anything as lovely as a tree.


    • mistermuse 7:19 am on April 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Especially with election campaign season starting to heat up, Don….though, come to think of it, a law requiring that all political contributions must be made in coins might have the desired chilling effect on some of the hot air emanating from the candidates.


  • mistermuse 3:00 am on November 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , nature   


    According to Leszek Kolakowski (Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?, Basic Books, 2007), Socrates was interested in the study of nature as a young man, but later abandoned this for the study of ideas. This makes me wonder how someone can cease to be a nature lover (if indeed that was the case) even if one grows into additional or other interests. Surely this need not – indeed, should not – be a case of either-or. Once a nature lover, always a nature lover – if one was truly a nature lover to begin with.

    It might be argued that one can “fall out” of other types of love – romantic love of a person, for example – so why not love of nature? But doesn’t the death of romantic love involve disillusionment? How does one become disillusioned with natural beauty?

    As a deist, I don’t pretend to know why the Creator created this mixed bag of a world, but we seem to have little choice but to take the bad along with the good. For those suffering the brutish and often fatal injustice of man and/or maker, natural beauty may be an irrelevant luxury. Does it not follow that, as bad as the bad is, the relatively fortunate among us have all the more reason to appreciate that which offers some measure of something to be inspired by and thankful for?

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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