"She ventured to hope he did not always read only poetry..."
Monday, July 15, 2013
Field Trip: Cape Hatteras Light Station
We recently spent a few days with my parents, siblings, and siblings-in-law on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. N. has been especially fascinated with sailing, shipping, and all things maritime this year thanks to the Swallows and Amazons books, Captains Courageous, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (and before this, our summers in Duluth provided lots of Lake Superior shipping to ogle. Oh and there was the long-standing interest in the Titanic and shipwrecks.). So he was especially excited one day to climb the Cape Hatteras Light Station. He loved learning about the history of the light station at that site. He thought it was a beautiful building. And given his interest in the relocation of historic structures, he loved learning about the moving of the light station in 1999. After we climbed the light station's 248 stairs, he carefully read all the placards in the keeper's house exhibit detailing the move, the rescue operations launched from the site in years past, wrecks in the Diamond Shoals off Cape Hatteras, and the threat of German submarines during wartime. As we left the site N. immediately launched into a long, detailed story about a lighthouse in his imaginary world (pictured in his drawing at left); I am fascinated by the way he processes information this way through imaginative recreation. When we got home that night he reread the facts about Cape Hatteras on the National Park Service website, and when we had dinner with friends the next night, he told them all about it, including the number of steps, distance the structure was moved, the date of the installation of the Fresnel lens, etc. (side note: he wants to learn more about Frensel lenses). It's so fun to see him really dig into this new information in multiple modes: reading, storytelling, drawing, factual narration, sharing the experience with loved family and friends. If we'd had time, he would gladly have driven up and down the Outer Banks to go to all the lighthouses. He just could not get enough of them.