Posts Tagged With: ocean

a guiding light

Lighthouses stand stalwart and true where land meets the sea.
An important navigational aid to guide ships into port, That light was the only thing standing between a ship and disaster.

The legend of Nags Head in the Outer Banks of North Carolina tells of land pirates hanging a lantern around the neck of a horse and walking her along the huge dunes at Jockey’s Ridge. This was to trick ship captains into running aground on the shoals so the ship could then be looted.

My mom loved lighthouses. She collected little lighthouse tchotchkes, anything from pictures to candles to actual replicas of lighthouses.
YBW loves lighthouses too. He also has a (much smaller than Mommie’s) collection of lighthouse tchotchkes.
I asked him what he loved so much about lighthouses and this is what he told me:
Lighthouses represent adventure. They make me feel like being on vacation.

Now, this fascinated me! He loves lighthouses because to him, the represent the freedom to travel.
This quick conversation lead me to consider what a lighthouse might mean to me, and here’s what I came up with:
A lighthouse is a beacon, a guiding light to keep you safe.

I see how differently my husband and I view lighthouses. To him it’s adventure and travel. To me a haven. These views are absolutely influenced by the way we grew up. He grew up sheltered in a safe and idyllic family, I grew up abandoned by one parent and discarded by the other.
But together he and I create the complete lighthouse concept. At the edge of land, at once sending you off on adventures and welcoming you home again.

I would love to know why my mom loved them…I wonder why it never occurred to me to ask her that question?

Lighthouses continue to stand long after outliving usefulness.
We explored such a lighthouse on our honeymoon.

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Harrison Point Lighthouse
St Lucy, Barbados.

This lighthouse was built of concrete in 1925.
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It was deactivated in (approximately) 2007 and has been abandoned since (approximately) 2011. We visited the lighthouse in 2015 and this is what we found.
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The red steel door torn from the hinge.

P1090161 Ruined motor and electrical panel. P1090165

Starting up the steps.
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Curling up higher and higher.
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No more concrete.
Rusted metal steps to the service room.
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At the door to the service room.
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The floor here is beginning to rust straight through. We tread with great care.

This panel is worse off than the one downstairs.
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I crawled with hands and feet up these rusty ladder stairs to the lantern room.
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A look back at the lantern room door.
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The lens was long gone. Most of the lantern room glass too. We found the broken bits on the ground at the base of the lighthouse. Some huge chunks of Fresnel lens mixed in with so much window glass. (YBW brought some home and keeps them on his desk at work and here at home.)

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It was breathtakingly beautiful.

The door to the outer ring around the lantern room was open and as I leaned the top of my body out, YBW urged me to stay put. He saw the rusty railings, knows I’m a bit klutzy, put two and two together and said: If you fall, you will die, I can’t be a widower when we’ve been married less than a week. Please don’t.

He was scared for my safety. The more I looked out at the very thin railing rusting at all the important joints, I was compelled to stay where I was. The warm afternoon light gave me the gooseflesh.
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I wrote about lighthouses because I read a post early this morning about praying at the edge of the sea.
I was moved by the visual created by those words. The sea carrying a prayer to the far reaches of the world then returning it magnified.

What if that’s what lighthouses really are?
What if they continually send and receive prayers?
What if they are the “guiding light” of all the seaside prayers? Or love? Or adventures? Or safe havens?
And even after they no longer light the sky they never stop sending and receiving those all-important intangibles?

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

OBX 8.13.10 7:22 am EDT

I decided to share with you an old journal entry that I especially love.

It’s funny to me what solitude looks like.
I’ve left five people sleeping to come sit on the beach with my journal on the off chance I’ll find some peace.
Now I’m not the only human on the beach this morning, but there are precious few and they all seem to be walking idly by as I sit in my duck jammie pants in my low canvas chair.

I’ve become completely distracted with two little sandpipers running so quickly on their little bird feet in that timeless dance with the tide, pick pick picking at the tiny air bubbles to find a bit of sand crab breakfast. The first bird found a pretty big crab and carried it up the beach just past where the tide could reach immediately set it down and began to poke and pick at it, when she seemed to have gotten her fill she left the shell and skibbled off to see what else she could find.
I’m watching several of these quick little birds pecking the bubbly wet sand probing with their long slender beaks extracting shell after shell filled with their yummy crab breakfast, but all these birds are eating the entire thing, only that one little bird left the shell. I find myself wondering if that’s why she is so much smaller than the others I see this morning.

A little further up the beach a school of fish seems to have washed up and become beached the cool morning sunlight reflecting hundreds of silver flashes as they flip and flop gasping for water to breathe.
The waves that so cruelly deposited them on the sand come back just enough to tease them, to let them breathe for just a moment before moving back into the sea. Some of these little fish have been able to make their way back into the ocean but the ones left on the sand gasp and flounder once more.
I’m equally horrified and amazed by this scene, part of me needs to get up run down there and just start chucking fish into the sea, another part of me knows it will solve itself one way or another as it has done since the dawn of time. A young woman stopped and began to throw the fish back into the water…until the seagulls came…and then she covered her head and ran a bit up the beach before she looked back and slowed her escape.
The seagulls are overjoyed at the open buffet. They swoop down to grab a snack and move away a bit before enjoying the spoils, this goes on for quite some time and then as quickly as the scavengers came…they are gone.
There is no more silver flashing in the sun, and I am reminded of John Cleese and Michael Palin…those are “ex-fish”.

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