Today in My History
You Want to Make God Laugh
Cast (updated 7/16)
17 July 2020
I watched an episode of Ken Burns' series on national parks last night. I have missed most of the series. This one was told the story of many of the people who were instrumental in saving sections of the country as national parks. It was riveting. I missed the first half hour, but it is being repeated today so I will see the start of it then.
I think we in this country don't appreciate national parks. We have grown up with them and it's unthinkable that there was a time when these areas of the country were not protected.
The first time Walt and I remember knowing about each other was on a Newman Club trip to Yosemite. That may have been the very first national park that I ever visited (unless I went to see the redwood trees as a child, which were close to San Francisco). Yosemite is still my favorite national park and we have been t here many times, including camping out of the valley itself in the high lands, where we shared our campground with a snuffling bear.
Almost anywhere you look in Yosemite is jaw-droppingly awesome, from mirror lake (it's now no longer a lake) to Half Dome, which Walt and Char climbed. North America's tallest waterfalls, the giant Sequoia groves, the tall straight wall of El Capitan. When you get valley view you can see how ice cut through this area to leave these wonderful sights.
I just sort of thought that "national parks" were things that every country had, but realize that many people in other countries are impressed with our parks.
We've been to some. We saw the Grand Canyon briefly on our way to a train ride. We drove through Zion Park on that same trip. It was one of the most beautiful parks I'd seen and I always hoped to go back, but we were too rushed to do much more than just drive through it.
We took the kids to Yellowstone, where we had been at least once before. I remember sitting and waiting to see Old Faithful erupt and the "play fight" that Tom and David did in a parking lot, while Paul was trying to decide on a souvenir in a gift shop. I watched the kids and giggled and a woman thought me the most terrible mother for letting my kids beat each other up (they had all learned how to play fight and look very realistic)
The Burns program talks about people like John Muir, whose love of the Sierras resulted in making Yosemite...and photographer Ansel Adams, whose photographs have made it so famous.
The saddest story was of Chiura Obata, who emigrated to the US in 1903 and worked tirelessly as an artist painting Yosemite and Mt. Ranier, working as an art professor at UC Berkeley, and introducing countless people to the beauty of the parks for 70 years. But despite his love for the country, he was sent to a concentration camp after Pearl Harbor and spent many years there. I was afraid that I would learn he died there, but no, he and his family were eventually released.
The whole show was really wonderful and I highly recommend it, if you have the chance to see it. I hope I am able to see the rest of the series, because, like all of Ken Burns programs, this is well worthwhile.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #7420