"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." -Richard Dawkins

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Here is something I will not lie to you about; the deep, unwavering importance (to me) of Ken Burns three and a half hour long epic about Lewis and Clark. I mean, just the name Ken Burns gives me a thrill- I get all worked up! "Oh, Ken Burns! What is it this time?!" and then I find out it's baseball and oh man, I so don't care about that, but I know that for people who do care about baseball, Ken Burns does it more justice- the most justice- than anyone else.

I first encountered Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery while sick with strep throat, home from school at the age of thirteen. PBS was running it back to back, over and over again- a marathon of America (Amerithon?) for 24 hours- maybe even 48. It was during a fund drive. I kept my little 13" black and white TV on in my bedroom, just fading in and out of sleep, watching, not watching, listening, dreaming, soaking up the wonder of a group of men seeing the breadth of this land for the very first time.

I recently noticed that it was available on Netflix streaming, so I turned it on this morning, to act as background noise while packing (hence the title of this post,) but I find myself drawn to the sofa, sucked into the TV. It's been, oh my, fifteen years since I last saw it, and it seems all fresh and new again. Ken Burns brilliance, his artistic genius, shines through as clean and timeless as if it was made yesterday. It's my genuine hope that when Ro is old enough to appreciate history that it's still as enjoyable and fascinating and perfect as it is today- as it was that first time in 1997.

The boxes are getting filled, yes, I'm packing, yes, but I suspect I should turn on some mindless music if I want to stop getting absorbed by the television and actually get more done.

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