Our family activities for the next couple of weekends centre around Muir’s discovery of the Calypso Borealis while wandering through the swamps of Canada in 1864. The story of his joy at finding this rare orchid became his first published writing, having been sent on to a newspaper by his former College professor, J.D. Butler, to whom he had written of the discovery in a letter. The article was published in the Boston Recorder in 1865, and an extract is available here:
I never before saw a plant so full of life; so perfectly spiritual, it seemed pure enough for the throne of its Creator. I felt as if I were in the presence of superior beings who loved me and beckoned me to come. I sat down beside them and wept for joy. Could angels in their better land show us a more beautiful plant? How good is our Heavenly Father in granting us such friends as these plant-creatures, filling us wherever we go with pleasure so deep, so pure, so endless.