A Cinematic Love Letter to the Wilderness and John Muir’s Legacy
A beautiful homage to the natural world’s “good, practical sort of immortality.”
By Maria Popova
“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter,” the great naturalist and environmental philosopher John Muir (April 21, 1838–December 24, 1914) wrote to his wife in the summer of 1888. More than half a century later, teenage Sylvia Plath echoed and amplified this sentiment in a beautiful diary entry about a day spent on a wild beach: “From this experience I emerged whole and clean, bitten to the bone by sun, washed pure by the icy sharpness of salt water, dried and bleached to the smooth tranquillity that comes from dwelling among primal things.”
Another half-century later, one is left with the wistful awareness of how infrequently we avail ourselves to the wilderness, and how frequently we choose “hotels and baggage and chatter” over the transcendent splendor of “dwelling among primal things.”
Filmmaker Temujin Doran teamed up with the John Muir Trust to reimagine Muir’s enchanting Wilderness Essays in this cinematic love letter to the natural world — an invitation to remember our abiding bond with the wilderness and relearn to reaps the eternal rewards of communing with it.
Complement with Doran’s cinematic ode to the life and death of mountains and the story of how Rachel Carson — Muir’s courageous and politically wakeful twentieth-century counterpart — catalyzed the modern environmental movement.
Published February 13, 2017