Muir's green architecture was not about reducing his carbon footprint. It's wasn't about the latest politically correct style. Instead, this funky, little shack established a receptacle for guiding the forces of nature into his senses and his soul. Living there, Muir entered an intimate communion with the wisdom and revitalizing power of ecological processes. There, he learned what nature actually was and learned his place within it. That encounter and many others powered his life's work of looking through the outer appearances of mountains and trees, boulders and water, bears and birds and seeing the spirit speaking at their core. He got beyond the idea of nature and engaged in a direct dialogue with it.
In our rush to green the planet, we would do well to remember John Muir's wooden perch at the base of Yosemite Falls. We would do well to follow his lead and listen to the songs of water and wind and to hear the silence of granite and pine. Before drawing the lines of floor plans, we could trace the lines of tree bark and gravity. Before raising the roof, we could raise our eyes to receive the designs of hawk wings and cloud paths. What we find could flow into our cities and our homes. The energy of storms and the freshness of the wind would cancel out our carbon footprint and guide us toward architecture that was a vital and nature itself.