“Once I was very hungry and lonely in Tennessee. I had been walking most of the day in the Cumberland Mountains without coming to a single house, but in crossing a dark-shaded stream whose border trees closed over it like a leafy sky I found the frail Dicksonia that I had looked for so long, and the first Magnolia, too, that I had ever seen. I sat down and reveled in the glory of my discoveries. A mysterious breathing of wind moved in the trees, and the stream sang cheerily at every ripple. There is no place so impressively solitary as a dense forest with a stream passing over a rocky bed at a moderate inclination.
“Feelings of isolation soon caught me again among these hushed sounds, but one of the Lord’s smallest birds came out to me from some bushes at the side of a moss-clad rock. It had a wonderfully expressive eye, and in one moment that cheerful, confiding bird preached me the most effectual sermon on heavenly trust that I had ever heard through all the measured hours of Sabbath, and I went on not half so heart-sick, nor half so weary.”
– John Muir, who in 1867 walked 1,000 miles from Indianapolis to Cedar Keys, Florida, recalling a moment on his journey in The Wilderness World of John Muir (1954) edited by Edwin Way Teale; the picture above is of the Dicksonia fern.