Meet Mr. Muir: No. 4 of 40 Forts

Meet Mr. Muir: No. 4 of 40 Forts

Meet Mr. Muir: No. 4 of 40 Forts

Surprisingly, I am finding that it is much harder for me to keep up with the blogging about the forty forts than it is to create them. I completed No. 6 tonight, but I honestly don’t feel like blogging about them. It just makes me tired. So I will likely stay a couple of days behind on presenting my pieces. I do like that because it allows me to live with the piece for a little longer before sharing it. If you are addicted to these forts (and please tell me if you are), you can see them in advance of the blog on my Flickr collection of the Forty Forts.

Thank you, John Muir

Thank you, John Muir

Meet Mr. Muir. Like Copernicus, he popped up in my stamp collection. But I was inspired to include him based the design of the structure. On the curled entrance to the fort, a few words kept popping out at me. It is an article about pasta, after all. What does that have to do with John Muir, a conservationist, who founded the Sierra Club and inspired the National Park Bill?

Ill also adhere to waste not.

I'll also adhere to waste not.

Well, he was the second environmentalist to pop up in my Lenten adventure. And I like to think of myself as an environmentalist. But let’s be honest. Since Lucy’s arrival, a lot of my environmental efforts have gone out the window. It is time for me to get back on board. Clearly. Maybe I will do more than just read No Impact Man by Colin Beavan. I started Beavan’s book the same day I started this project. Yet he plans to have no impact on the environment for an entire year. Whoa. What a challenge.

So back to John Muir… I whited out the text with some magazine cut outs so that you could read the message I read from the piece. I then added that same text on the card below Muir’s face. The rounded brown columns refer to the sequoias he preserved in the California landscape. Many people have a humbling and spiritual expeirence when they visit Muir Woods, just north of San Francisco. How could you not? They are so magnificent.

To Muir, the outdoors was God’s greatest cathedral. He believed that the “Book of Nature” was the primary way to experience God. He also believed that light had a religious quality equal to that of “glory of God”.

to whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.

Avid readers of my blog will know that I named Lucy because the name Lucia means “light.” Light and merry is her name. She does live up to that (throw in a dash of hot temper, too).

Read Muir’s description of the American Forests, which was published in the Atlantic Monthly in August 1897. And here is a letter Muir wrote after learning that President Roosevelt had named Muir Woods after him, which was recently published by the National Parks Service as part of the Muir Woods 100-year celebration. As Muir said then:

Saving these woods from the axe & saw, from money-changers and water- changers & giving them to our country & the world is in many ways the most notable service to God & man I’ve heard of since my forest wanderings began.

Oh, Mr. Muir, “waste not” indeed. If you only knew. We are so thankful that you preserved the land that you did. For without it, we would certainly never know the beauty that abounds.


This paper sculpture, roughly the size of a coffee cup, is one of forty forts I created during Lent 2010 as a creative exercise and spiritual exploration.

Read about all of the Forty Forts.

Previous: The Color of Serenity: No. 3 of 40 Forts
Next: Locked In: No. 5 of 40 Forts

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