My most recent charm for my Pandora bracelet.
I love lighthouses. There is something about them that whispers to me. I don't know if it's just the sound of the sea or the fading tone of the foghorns or the ghosts of lightkeepers past. But when I see a lighthouse, whether in real life or a painting, I feel it through to my bones.
If someone were to ask me right now at this moment what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d tell them, “A lighthouse.” Strong, safe and a shining light—a beacon.
I don’t remember exactly when lighthouses started to speak to me, but I seem to remember that they almost always have. Just seeing a lighthouse in the distance was like putting a conch shell up to my ear. The waves against the shore, the bells of the buoys, and the wind against the rocks.
My love of lighthouses seems a bit of a contradiction. It’s funny, I’m not a swimmer, but I love the sea. I’m not a boater and rarely go out on small fishing boats. I adore the coast but live in the Midwest (the “coast” of the Mississippi River doesn’t’ count.) I don’t like the heat of summer or swimsuits or crowded beaches, but I love walking on an open beach in the fall or spring or even winter. And when it comes to lighthouses, I don’t like heights and just walking up those spiral staircases is panic-inducing. But they’re beautiful. And stately. And strong—so strong they can withstand the most terrible of storms.
In recent years, the lighthouse has become a sort of totem for me. But I’m not sure if it’s more comforting because of the sense of safety and refuge or because of the light it shines. I’m still figuring out why I’m so drawn to them.
In Joseph Panek's blog, "A Seeker's Thoughts," he writes that lighthouses notify "sailors that land is near and warns them that they are approaching rocks, reefs and shallow waters which must be navigated with caution."
He also says: "The Lighthouse stands alone and tall in both light and darkness and it, along with its beacon, is a focal point which symbolizes strength, guidance and safe harbor; it is a Spiritual 'Welcome Mat' for all those who are traveling by sea."
Isn't that something we all want?
Do you have photos of lighthouses carved onto gravestones? If so, please share them below in the comments or in my Facebook group.
The lovely Helen Reddy singing "Candle on the Water" from Disney's "Pete's Dragon,"
one of my childhood favorites.
I'm the founder and editor of TheCemeteryClub.com and Epitaphs Magazine. I love cemeteries and sharing the art and history of them with anyone who will listen!