View RSS Feed


Travis McGee, John Muir, and me, still in Cedar Key 4

Rate this Entry
When John Muir made his way to Cedar Key he was overwhelmed by the the heat and humidity. The abundant mosquitoes gave him malaria which nearly ended his life. Crumpled in a doorway delirious with fever he was mistaken for a homeless, drunkard. The night watchman who found him ignored his pleas for help and abandoned him near death. Fortunately, Muir had made the acquaintance of a kindly sawmill owner named Hodgson who, after hearing of Muir in need went to his aid. Hence, in 1867 Hodgson became one of the first "trail angels." Hodgson and his family nursed Muir and when he was healthy gave him a job. With the money he earned he was able to eventually travel to California and the rest is, as they say, history. The Hodgsons were never aware of the result of their kindness. There is a lesson in there somewhere and I believe I am beginning to get it.

Muir was inspired by wanderlust. Not necessarily a uniquely American trait but one that is more easily satisfied, and, more often encouraged here. Americans are seekers and some cast off convention and strike out for adventure. Despite what I read about the record number of hikers I am excited to join the migration. I'm looking forward to, but not expecting, kindness and respect. I can only reflect my upbringing and take a lesson from "The Golden Rule" and the Hodgsons. John Muir was the beneficiary of the kindness of a local family that has had global consequences. Who knows? Maybe someone hiking the AT this spring will be inspired and encouraged to do something that will change the world for the better.

In the meantime, Travis McGee and I will sit at the Big Deck Raw Bar watching the Snowbirds and tourists wander aimlessly across Dock Street oblivious to the oncoming four wheeled nemesis. We'll curse mosquito control and the air conditioner all the while being grateful to be part of the 699 full time residents. Talking about whether to tarp or tent and if our old legs can walk that far.
Tags: None Add / Edit Tags