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Kathy airs tribute to parkland hero John Muir

Kathy Muir

Kathy Muir

A CITY songstress has composed an ode to feted Dunbar conservationist John Muir – after learning about his work on holiday in the United States.

Kathy Muir had to travel thousands of miles to Connecticut to learn about the “Father of National Parks”, despite growing up 30 miles from his birthplace.

She has now written a song to celebrate his environmental feats after becoming inspired by his work through an American friend who mentioned his huge impact on the country.

The track, Sweet and Easy, which features the lines “Man of the mountain and of the sea, Your beating heart has a sweet rhyme”, is now available to download on iTunes and Amazon, with a self-made video of the song posted on YouTube.

Speaking from the US, Ms Muir, who works in communications and marketing, said: “It was a guy at work here who put me on to John Muir about a year-and-a-half ago.

“I suppose I must have heard of him while I was at school, but I don’t remember it.”

Kathy claims she is the first artist to include images of John Muir in a music video. It features photographs of Muir at Yosemite, California, where he lived for many years writing about the natural habitat.

Kathy said: “There’s a lot in the lyrics that refers to John Muir the naturalist, but you’d never think it was written about someone who was born over 150 years ago.

“Great art has the power to inspire anyone and I absolutely love John Muir’s writing, it really speaks to me. I started reading his books and the way he describes things just embraces you.

“His style strikes me as extremely lyrical and made me want to learn more about him.”

Dunbar-born Muir is so revered in the US that he was given the rare honour of appearing on a quarter-dollar coin in California.

He emigrated to the States with his family aged 11 and they started a farm near Portage, Wisconsin, called Fountain Lake Farm, which has now been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Despite sharing surnames. Kathy insists she is not related to the conservationist.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re related – though I really wish we were! I would love that to be the case,” she said.

John Muir has also been honoured at his birthplace of East Lothian with a museum and a walking trail named in his honour.

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said: “The influence of John Muir to the modern conservation movement is well recognised but he remains a largely unknown figure in his homeland. It’s interesting to see and hear how he has influenced a modern singer-songwriter.”

SWEET AND EASY

Life is such a discovery

The way you’re showing me

Man of the mountain and of the sea

Your beating heart has a sweet rhyme

You see the grace of another time

Breathing life into all you see

And how you tell your stories – sweet and easy

There were those who painted pictures

And those who drew their words on a canvas in the sun

And those who carved their memories on blocks of wood from a maple tree

Your words rise, like sea winds that carry

A scented view from a landscape past, cast in stone

 

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