Just a few weeks ago, my wife, Jess, and I took a few days to create a long weekend in Washington, DC. Drivable within a day, chock full of history and culture, and certainly different from our everyday lives, we agreed that this was just the right place for our quick adventure.
Aside from a quick, there-and-back-in-one-day business trip I took 15 years ago, I had not traveled to the nation’s capital since I was a young child. It had been more than 30 years since I had set foot in any part of the Smithsonian or taken in the grandeur of the National Mall. Of course, with only a couple days at our disposal, we knew we couldn’t see and do everything we wanted. We devoted Friday to a trip to the National Zoo and an evening performance at The Kennedy Center. Saturday was spent visiting the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of American History, and the Museum of African American History and Culture. After brunch on Sunday, we enjoyed a stroll amongst the cherry blossoms and various monuments before heading home.
As I reflect on our time in DC, a summarizing word continues to pop into my head: “observe.”
Admittedly something that hectic schedules and competing demands can hamper, this trip created the opportunity for me to slow down, observe, and learn. From observing the playfulness of a young panda to watching people of all ages marveling at breathtaking gemstones and the Hope Diamond, I found myself feeling both free and inspired. Amos Bronson Alcott – native Connecticut educator and father of Louisa May Alcott – once said, “Observation – more than books and experiences, more than persons – are the prime educators.”
How fortunate we are at Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy to have seemingly endless opportunities to observe. In so many ways, observation is a critical part of Talcott Mountain’s DNA. We create opportunities for young children to observe their natural surroundings, we are equipped to observe weather patterns or incredible storms as they approach the mountain, and our ridgeline is hard to beat when it comes to observing the night sky. Simply put, Talcott is a place to observe.
A bit of a departure from my usual style of writing, I’m hoping you might engage with me and share some of your favorite observations at Talcott. If you’re a parent of a current or former Talcott student, maybe you can relay some of your child’s most memorable observations, in addition to your own. As I was reminded from my recent time in Washington, DC, and as is integral to the very identity of Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy, the power of observation cannot be underestimated. Whether it was 5 days ago or nearly 50 years ago, please take a moment to e-mail me, call me, or stop by one of Talcott’s social media pages to share your observations. I’m excited to hear from you.