Monday, September 28, 2009

National Parks: America's Best Idea

"National Parks: America's Best Idea" is one of those monumental films that everyone needs to see. Directed by Ken Burns, it is a 6 part series highlighting the creation of the National Parks system. You can watch Part 1 online for a limited time. The cinematography in this film is breathtaking. The film provides the perfect blend of current images along with sketches and photos from the period. It has intensified my desire to visit Yosemite, as that- along with Yellowstone, was the focus of this episode. I was so glad that I was able to visit John Muir's home a few weeks ago and to learn about his life because the film spent even more time detailing his belief in the sublime power of nature, particularly that found in Yosemite. He dedicated much of his life advocating for the preservation of these sites, saying that "wildness is a necessity" for all of us. What Muir and many others had written was that observation of these sites confirmed the existence of a supreme being who had created these majestic sites. I loved that the subtitle of this episode was "The Scripture of Nature" highlighting the sacred nature of these places. However, I agree with the historian quoted in the film that issuing democracy- that all men are created equal- is America's best idea, but that national parks are definitely a great idea.

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