April 3 ~  Nature We Have Always Burroughs: Sage of Slabsides

"If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature; and the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature. Nature we have always with us, an inexhaustible storehouse of that which moves the heart, appeals to the mind, and fires the imagination,--health to the body, a stimulus to the intellect, and joy to the soul." ~ John Burroughs

John Burroughs

Born on this day in the Catskill Mountains of Roxbury, New York, naturalist and writer John Burroughs (1837-1921) wrote with passion about Nature and the human spirit.

Inspired by the works of William Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson, he once said: "A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else."

Burroughs was a treasury clerk when he published his first book, Notes on Walt Whitman as Poet and Person (1867). He followed up with Wake-Robin (1871), and Locusts and Wild Honey (1879). "I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more," he said.

Called the "Grand Old Man of Nature," the white-bearded Burroughs was friend to Theodore Roosevelt, Walt Whitman, Thomas Edison, and John Muir. The writer of over 25 volumes, he urged others to explore the outdoors and inspired the environmental conservation movement. His prolific writing captured the spirit of the outdoors for all ages.

"The secret of happiness is something to do," he said.

Even in later years, the writer continued to shine with positive light. His friend Henry Ford gave Burroughs an auto as a gift and the writer learned to drive it at the age of 75. "How beautifully leaves grow old," Burroughs said. "How full of light and color are their last days."

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see."

John BurroughsNature is our best assurance of immortality.