Time Too Precious

Do you remember the naturalist and mountaineer John Muir? Of course you do. I called him “Dreamer John” and he said “the mountains are calling and I must go.”

Well, his friend William Badè said this about John Muir in his introduction to Muir’s A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf.

[John] concluded that life was too brief and uncertain, and time too precious, to waste upon belts and saws; that while he was pottering in a wagon factory, God was making a world; and he determined that, if his eyesight was spared, he would devote the remainder of his life to a study of the process.

Eyesight spared? Wikipedia explains:

In early-March 1867, an accident changed the course of his life: a tool he was using slipped and struck him in the eye. The file slipped and cut the cornea in his right eye and then his left eye sympathetically failed. He was confined to a darkened room for six weeks to regain his sight, worried about whether he would end up blind. When he regained his sight, “he saw the world—and his purpose—in a new light”. Muir later wrote, “This affliction has driven me to the sweet fields. God has to nearly kill us sometimes, to teach us lessons.” From that point on, he determined to “be true to [himself]” and follow his dream of exploration and study of plants.

Escape! When work almost ruined him, he had an epiphany in quiet darkness, then answered the call of the hills.

Dreamer John again:

There’s plenty more Escapological wisdom in our forthcoming Issue 16, available to pre-order now in print and digital formats. Do so and rejoice!


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at wringham.co.uk

4 Responses to “Time Too Precious”

  1. Fergie says:

    John Muir has been a hero of mine for many years. Your blog post has made me think that it is high time I reread some of his fabulous books!

  2. I haven’t actually read him Fergie. I just learned about him while researching his “hills are calling” quote. You got a favourite volume I should pick up?

  3. Fergie says:

    A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf is a great read. If you can try to get the Canongate Books version, it includes several of his best books in one volume:

  4. That, sir, is a top tip. Ta very much.

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