Nature brings us forth, sustains us, and is our final home.
Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear. In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, — no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nature"
There is religion in everything around us, a calm and holy religion in the unbreathing things in Nature. It is a meek and blessed influence, stealing in as it were unaware upon the heart. It comes quickly, and without excitement; it has no terror, no gloom. It does not rouse up the passions. It is untrammeled by creeds. It is written on the arched sky. It looks out from every star. It is on the sailing cloud and in the invisible wind. It is among the hills and valleys of the earth where the shrubless mountain-top pierces the thin atmosphere of eternal winter, or where the mighty forest fluctuates before the strong wind, with its dark waves of green foliage. It is spread out like a legible language upon the broad face of an unsleeping ocean. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us and which opens to our imagination of world of spiritual beauty and holiness.
Wherever we go in the mountains, or indeed in any of God's wild fields, we find more than we seek.
--John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierras (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916), 187 (August 4).
In God's wildness lies the hope of the world -- the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.
--John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1979), 317.