John Muir



Heavy with pack i am falling headfirst down a narrow granite corridor. It is shown vision clear: at impact — another half-second — my lower jaw will shatter on the rocks. In this remote wilderness it will likely mean death.

All has led to this moment: the prophetic dream at the foot of a large Mountain Juniper two nights prior; the backpack nearly lost into the river an hour before; the brisk walk inside a hidden wilderness sanctuary to go quickly dry gear while day is still warm; the peculiar look of the rock that i forgo testing before grabbing it to climb down - and which now hurls down the corridor with me.

A fraction of second left...the Jaguar appears...fall shifts to slow motion...wordless communication with the Great Cat...decision to live is made.

Body twist and the right hand, as if by magic, comes between my jaw and the granite slab, finding even time to press against the rock and absorb some of the impact.

I crawl out of the corridor bruised and dazed. Soon a further state of shock sets in at the realization of the enormity of what just happened.