Printer-friendly version Share:  Share this page on FacebookShare this page on TwitterShare this page by emailShare this page with other services

The Contemplative John Muir:
Spiritual Quotations from the Great American Naturalist

by Stephen K. Hatch

A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir by Donald Worster book cover

( from the book's dust jacket ) The Contemplative John Muir: Spiritual Quotations from the Great American Naturalist by Stephen K. Hatch; 380 pages; Includes: A John Muir Chronology, Introduction, 41 chapters, Abbreviations, References. Perfect-bound paperback or ebook. ISBN-10: 1105414817 ISBN-13: 978-1105414817

"As we mingle with nature more, the pain caused by the melting of all beauties into one First Beauty disappears, because after their first submergence in fountain God, they go again washed and clean into their individualisms, more clearly defined than ever, unified yet separate."
- John Muir (exploring the waterfalls of Yosemite)

John Muir (1838-1914) is best known for his work in preserving the great natural areas of America. He was an explorer, botanist, geologist, storyteller, and a founder of the Sierra Club. Muir camped with Theodore Roosevelt at Yosemite, and used the opportunity to influence the President to set aside many of our National Parks. What is not commonly known is that Muir was also a great contemplative thinker - a sort of "wilderness mystic" - one who experienced union with the Divine through contact with the great natural areas of the Western United States. In fact, Muir's preservation efforts were motivated in large part by a realization that - because all creatures are rooted in a personal Divine Presence whose love permeates all things equally - they too are sentient. For Muir, this sentience imbued even mountains, rocks, glaciers, rivers and "spirit skies." When Muir marveled at the exuberant waterfalls of Yosemite, he realized that Divine love drenches all things equally, flooding them all with a common divinity. As he exulted in the gleaming sunlit granites of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, he understood that all creatures radiate from the Divine as from a single spiritual Sun, one that saturates them all equally with a common sacred warmth, melting them all into one spiritual Reality. As Muir allowed his own personal identity to dissolve into the expansive beauty of the mountains of California, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska, he watched spellbound as both he and all creatures reemerged, "washed and clean," into their own separate identities, like individual flowers emerging - miraculously - from an infinite sheet of golden light. It was this kind of mystical experience that motivated Muir to push for the preservation of wild places - which he viewed as God's First Temples" - and wild creatures - which he saw as vibrant embodiments of the personality of Sacred Nature.

The Contemplative John Muir: Spiritual Quotations from the Great American Naturalist is a sort of "bible" of Muir's ecstatic utterances concerning the sacredness of Nature. It includes a wealth of never before published passages from the John Muir Papers, as well as an anthology of the major spiritual passages from his published works.

Stephen Hatch, M.A., is a contemplative thinker, photographer, and writer. He lives as a sort of "monk in the world," combining family life with meditation, silence, solitary time spent hiking and camping in the wilds, a simple lifestyle, and mindfulness. Stephen has taught in the Religious Studies Department at Naropa University, where he specializes in Christian Mysticism. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. For inspiring quotes and his nature photos, go to

Cover Photos:; Half Dome glows at sunrise with Spiraea flowers appearing out of the granite as though from the seamless expanse of Divine awareness and love.

Available from , Barnes & Noble, or in perfect-bound paperback or as an ebook.

Return to Book Jackets
Return to Bibliographic Resources

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2024 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.