If trees would talk
wonder what they’d tell me

Nikki Giovanni – “Alabama Poem”

Ken Burns is certainly going to try to give nature a voice in his latest epic 6-part mini-series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Last night (Sunday) was the premiere on PBS. Ten hours left. No better time than now to highlight some of the nation’s most beautiful and economical day trips and vacation spots.

Ken Burns became a public television mega star when his series “The Civil War” premiered on PBS — the most watched primetime PBS program. On paper whodathought? From that point no one could say “no” to another and another Burns series from “The West,” to “Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery”, to “Baseball,” to “Jazz.” He got into a little skirmish with his WW II series “The War” for the omission of Hispanic soldiers who served. There was a truce of sorts for the stories of Hispanic veterans to be included in the broadcast.

Burns’ single docs “Unforgiveable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson” “Brooklyn Bridge,” “Thomas Jefferson,” “Huey Long,” “The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God,” “Statue of Liberty” are broadcast as anthologies celebrating the filmmaker. Even Apple’s iMovie has a video editing transition called the “Ken Burns effect.”

For 22 years, Ken Burns’ documentaries enjoyed financial support from General Motors until March of this year. GM declared bankruptcy in May as part of a U.S. government sponsored reorganization of the beleaguered automaker. “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” was the last film GM financed prior to these developments. America’s now waiting for GM’s better idea.

Full episodes of “The National Parks” are available onlinehere on the PBS website. There are also opportunities for viewers or visitors to the website to share their photos and stories.

Wonder how many GM vehicles will be in those gentle vacation memories?

Update: Thumbs up for “The National Parks.” I gave up “Gossip Girl” to watch this. Glad I did.