My Nana grew up on Campobello Island, a small New Brunswick island just off the coast of Maine, within sight of what locals call Head Harbour Lighthouse. She was friends with the daughter of the lighthouse keeper. So it’s no surprise that her home is filled with pictures of that red and white lighthouse, and of others. So Cameron’s been quite exposed to light houses, and is intensely curious and fascinated by them. There’s a book of lighthouses at Nana’s home that he’ll beeline to as soon as we get there, often winning out over the book about fighter jet airplanes.
So imagine his excitement when he learned that we would be visiting a light house, Yaquina Head Lighthouse, on our last day in Oregon. He ran ahead, jumping for joy, as he saw that yes we’d actually get to go inside. You’d think it was Christmas Morning, to watch him.
Once inside he had to cool his heels a little, as there was a lineup to go upstairs. Even worse, there was a tense moment when the woman working there measured Kate and Cameron – they’ve got to be 42 inches or something like that to be allowed up to the very top. I was certain he was taller than the limit, and Kate even taller, but still … what if? Thankfully we didn’t have to deal with the what if. He’s something like 44 inches or more now.
Finally, we were allowed to go up the stairway that spiraled upwards to the light. It’s quite a climb, and the wedge-shaped stairs are narrow, so we were asked to be sure to pass people we met on the landings.
Cameron was awfully disappointed that we couldn’t stand right up in the light itself, but when the reason why was explained to him he was content with peeking up on the last flight of stairs. He was intent on learning as much as he could about the light, and figuring out how it worked, while below us Kate, who had already seen it, was curious and in heaven over the prisms. There were prisms everywhere – in the floor of the light chamber (what to call it?) itself, and to focus the beam outwards. On our way back down from viewing the light, Cameron pointed at the mechanism under it, “See Mama, it does go around and around,” he said. We’d been discussing whether or not it did, and why not. The woman working there smiled, and said that no, it doesn’t. But he was right, they had built it with a revolving light in mind, but had never installed it, so yes it did have all the gears and other workings that would’ve turned the light.
Back down again we went, to view the seabird colonies on the rocks, pounded far below by the waves. Those are noisy birds! I couldn’t make out any seals, or whales, but I’m told that you can often see both.
Later on, Cameron told me that he couldn’t wait to tell Nana about the lighthouse he’d visited, and that he even got to go into it. And he did, eager and excited and full of details once he got over his shyness, while holding her hand.