John Muir's seminal work, My First Summer in the Sierra, details Muir's first extended trip to the Sierra Nevada in what is now Yosemite National Park, a landscape that entranced him immediately and had a profound effect on his life. The towering waterfalls, natural rock formations, and abundant plant and animal life helped Muir develop his views of the natural world, views that would eventually lead him to push for the creation of the national parks.
My First Summer in the Sierra won the National Outdoor Book Award
Let's set the scene...
Luke is starting to question starting up another relationship with Rachel
Lorelai: Oh no. No no. I don't want to hear about the romance of being a loner.
Luke: Some guys are just naturally loners.
Lorelai: Yes, lonely guys.
Luke: Independent guys.
Lorelai: Sad guys.
Luke: Maverick guys.
Lorelai: Lee Harvey Oswald.
Luke: John Muir.
Lorelai: The unabomber.
Luke: Henry David Thoreau
Lorelai: Every one of these sad and lonely guys.
Well, first of all... this guy sure likes plants. As someone who might as well be seen as the Dr. Krevorkian of Plant Life, this is not something I can easily relate to. I am not the type of person that finds any sort of joy or value in gardening. If I'm outside, I'm reading (or drinking). I'm not on my knees trying to nurture a plant to grow when those green, leafy things just kind of magically appear in my yard of their own volition. I look and flowers and identify them as "purple" or "pretty". I couldn't tell you the genus, species and 4 fun facts about the history of that flower. The Bear Allen Classification System goes:
Pretty or Ugly?
Can I smoke it? (just kidding, for serious)
Will this look nice in my stupidly expensive Kate Spade vase?
It was interesting to me that the conversation that prompted my reading of My First Summer in the Sierra was about sad guys who enjoy being alone in nature. Because I'll tell you, in all 360 pages, I didn't find one instance of a bummed out Mr. Muir. In fact, for awhile there I started to consider looking up the year that Prozac became available to the general public to see if it coincided with the original publishing date of this book. Because this guy seems pretty blissed out at the most mundane, every day things. Independent? Sure. Sad? Not at all. Reading his thoughts on nature reminded me of the amazing miracles that we take for granted each time we walk out the door. That plant is pretty and looks good in my yard, but I don't stop to consider the thousands of years of evolution, protection from predators and climate changes this "nice flower" overcame to be sitting outside my house in the suburbs.
Who do I see reading this in the Stars Hollow gazebo?
Another person who likely has her house covered in Oprah-riffic inspirational sayings.