On Wednesday I was fortunate enough to conduct a phone interview with celebrated documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, the subject being his forthcoming series on America’s National Parks (the six-part series starts airing on PBS on Sept. 27. ) He’s hyper-articulate, and utterly impassioned about the history and symbolism of the parks and their impact on visitors, past and present. We spoke, among other things, about the spiritual impulses that were critical factors in the creation of the first parks–people who felt God’s presence, or at least some kind of transcendence, in spectacular natural scenery.
Wouldn’t you know that my house’s fire alarm went off for no reason (the first time it’s ever done this; last time it sounded, I’d burned an apple crisp) right in the middle of the interview, disconnecting the phone. Mr. Burns graciously called me back. And the fire department didn’t show up until the interview was concluded….
Look for an article about the series in a September issue of Commonweal.