“[Emerson] renounced the pulpit and the creeds, not because religion meant less to him, but because it meant more. The religious sentiment, the feeling of the Infinite, was as the sky over his head, and the earth under his feet. . . .Religion, in [Emerson’s] sense of the term–the deep sea into which the streams of all human thought empty–was his final test of any human being.”
~John Burroughs, The Last Harvest (1922)
The deep lake of Burroughs’ thought was constantly refreshed by the seasonal streams of his “spiritual” mentors Thoreau, Whitman and Emerson. We could say Burroughs offers an equally refreshing waterfall of ideas as his friend John Muir.
“The friendship that developed [after meeting in New York City in 1893] between Burroughs, an easterner, and Muir, a confirmed man of the West, would eventually help to link conservation advocates east and west of the Mississippi into a single powerful entity, a lobbying group with sufficient strength to battle the forces that actively opposed wilderness preservation–the timber, mining and railroad interests.”
“If I were asked to bestow a single honorific upon Burroughs, I would call him the Father of Recreational Nature Study. Unlike Thoreau, who used nature as a rock from which to mine ethical principles, and Muir, who sang of the sublime beauty of wilderness, Burroughs looked upon the natural world as a source of simple joy. In his essays and poems, he encouraged his readers to venture afield for themselves, and to seek the same kind of intimate encounters with plants, animals, and landscapes that had made his own life so full and satisfying.”
~Edward Kanze, The World of John Burroughs