Someone else's playground

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 26, 2011

By Jon C. Lakey
Every kid loves a playground. Back in the days of elementary school, the time I looked forward to the most was recess. I have vivid memories of those painfully long, single-file walks with my classmates to the school’s playground, which was located across a rather busy street. All that single-file order would break down into a chaotic screaming mob as soon as we hit the chain-link gate. The playground was huge (about a quarter of a city block) that was half dirt and half grass with standard swings, slides, a few trees, basketball hoops and monkey bars. The playground was where we developed our social skills and figured out our athletic inabilities.
Even with all of the fun and frolic that was had at the playground across the street, we were all keenly aware there were other playgrounds filled with potential fun located somewhere else. It is kind of like the fun is always more fun on the other side.
For a photographer, any kind of change is always exciting. Whether it is in the mountains, Piedmont or coastal areas of North Carolina, getting a chance to play in somebody else’s playground is as exciting as crossing the threshold of the old school yard (minus the running and screaming, of course).
As most of the Salisbury Post readership knows, the Rowan County American Legion baseball team has been playing in the state tournament in Morehead City. This puts me into somebody else’s playground for an extended period of time. My camera has replaced the kickball, the spiral slide and the stuffing of dead leaves into the chain-link fence.
Morehead City, like many coastal towns, offers a lot to see and photograph. A walk on the beach looking for sea shells, a self-guided tour of a Civil War-era fort and an amble along the boat docks at night can produce many interesting photographs.
A few of my favorite photographs included a silhouette of a father and sons fishing on a rock jetty near Fort Macon State Park. Another one was looking through a broken conch shell with a turbulent ocean swirling as a backdrop. The arched doorways of Fort Macon speak to another era. But the best thing about new playgrounds is discovering things that you had not expected. Enter the large statue of King Neptune sitting near a dive shop along the water front in downtown Morehead City. That was the coolest thing I have ever seen.
But after five days of playing around in someone else’s playground, I find myself thinking more fondly of my own home playground of Rowan County. The thoughts of watching sailboats on High Rock Lake, seeing the skyline of Salisbury from Dunn’s Mountain or a drive past the hundreds of old barns that dot the landscape of Rowan reaffirms that there is lots to see across the street.
It’s about time to form up a line.