There’s nothing as enduring as a mother’s love. Perhaps that is why Mother’s Day is the third most popular holiday in the world. Americans spent 24.9 billion dollars on Mother’s Day in 2019.
Mothers are often lauded for their heroics and sacrificial love. Often this love goes unrequited beyond Mother’s Day.
During the Pandemic 25% of women say they are worse off compared to 18% of men. It impacted women in jobs lost and those who left jobs because of caretaking responsibilities. It is being called the shecession.
This has compounded the inequities women already face. Women lag behind men in leadership positions and income. Perhaps the honor bestowed on women on Mother’s Day will one day translate into 365 days of equal treatment.
While the phrase the Coast is Clear may take on new meaning this year with the end of lockdowns and the beginning of more freedoms, for me it’s a reminder of a Mother’s Day trip a few years ago along Florida’s Forgotten Coast.
Florida’s Northwest coast rarely draws crowds or headlines like Miami on Florida’s East coast. Perhaps that is why it is called The Forgotten Coast.
Its unspoiled, pristine white sand and turquoise waters lure young and old. A few miles south of Tallahassee, the Forgotten Coast lays claim to some of the most spectacular beaches.
Its miles and miles of shallow beaches have imperiled past explorers and mariners.
Built in 1895, the Crooked River Lighthouse was constructed to support the lumber industry. Located in Carrabelle, the 103 foot iron tower overlooks the Gulf of Mexico.
When Cape San Blas Lighthouse was first proposed in 1830 it was rejected as a “useless expenditure.” A storm destroyed the first lighthouse. Two other lighthouses suffered a similar fate.
After falling in the Gulf of Mexico, Cape St. George Lighthouse was restored in 2011 with the support of the local community, state and federal governments. The current lighthouse was constructed from the remains of the second lighthouse in 1852.
The Lilac Lighthouse Tender is located at Hudson River Park. The park is an oasis in Manhattan, New York.
With more than a dozen piers, Hudson River Park offers recreation, dining, parks and a breathtaking view of the Hudson River.
Young and old explore a wide range of exciting outdoor and sporting activities like kayaking, playgrounds, habitat gardens, sailing, green space and more.
Visitors experience the Hudson River Estuary as a living laboratory for community engagement, stewardship and learning.
What are a country saves reveals a lot about itself- Mollie Beattie
Thankfully we have a system to preserve our National Parks, state parks and people of goodwill who preserve lighthouses.
President Theodore Roosevelt also called the “conservation president” he established 150;national forests, 51 bird preserves, 4 game preserves, 5 national parks and 18 national monuments.
In all, 28 states have National Parks. There are over 6.600 park sites in the United States. The big boost to state parks systems came with the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933 during the Great Depression. This work relief program put young men to work between the ages of 17 and 23 planting trees, cutting trails, and scenic vistas and constructing recreational buildings. The CCC program created a total of 711 state parks across the country.
National Park Week Events:
April 17 Park RX Day (Fee Free Day)
April 18 Volunteer Sunday
April 19 Military Monday
April 20 Transformation Tuesday
April 21 Wayback Wednesday
April 22 Earth Day
April 23 Friendship Friday
April 24 National Junior Ranger Day
April 25 Bark Ranger Day
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a native of Portland Maine, visited Portland Head Lighthouse several times. A literary giant, he penned poems based on American life and history. His poem “The Lighthouse” may be inspired by one of his visits.
Enjoy this short excerpt:
The rocky lead runs far into sea
And on its outer points, some miles away
The lighthouse lifts its massive masonry
A pillar of fire by night of cloud by day
The startled seas leap over it the storm
smites it with all the scourges of the rain
And steadily against its form
Press the great shoulders of the hurricane
There were over 400 women who were light keepers. By the 1800s, almost all of the United States' lighthouses had female assistant light keepers or head light keepers at one time or another.
J. Candace Clifford championed female light keepers in the book, "Women Who Kept the Light.”
J. Candace Clifford used her expertise to help advance the cause of lighthouses and women during brief life. She coauthored the book, "Women Who Kept the Light" which sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers. Candace served as a maritime historian for the National Park Service and the United States Lighthouse Society. The United States Lighthouse Society has launched a new online catalog in her name.
I met J. Candace Clifford at the reopening of the Anclote Key Lighthouse in Florida. She took photos of the event and did a television interview. I was sketching when our paths crossed. Candace paused to photograph me. We exchanged business cards and talked briefly. After the publication of the article she encouraged me to write, I was contacted about an art exhibit. My exhibit “Shattering the Lens” at the National Lighthouse Museum in New York paid homage to Candace Clifford and female light keepers.
Don’t dwell on what went wrong, focus on what to do next. Denis Waitley
Don’t dwell on what went wrong, focus on what to do next. Denis Waitley
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Amelia Island Lighthouse is Florida's oldest lighthouse. Originally built to guide vessels entering the St. Mary’s River and the Atlantic Ocean, the former Cumberland Lighthouse was moved due to changes in the channel that made it obsolete. It was dismantled brick by brick and transported by ship to Amelia Island. After being reconstructed, the lighthouse was lit in 1839 as Amelia Island Lighthouse.
Two female assistant light keepers served at Amelia Island Lighthouse:
Mrs. Winfield Woodland (1860-)
Jane M Donnelly 1868-1871
Life can truly be hard on dreams. I often find encouragement in the lives of female light keepers. They never gave up when life was hard on their dreams.
Despite suffering substantial loss, they served valiantly as light keepers. When Joseph Andreu fell 60 feet to his death white washing the St. Augustine Lighthouse, his wife Maria Andreu became the light keeper.
Maria Andreu is the first Hispanic-American woman to serve in the Coast Guard and the first to command a federal installation.
St. Augustine’s other female light keeper was Kate Harn. Beginning in 1889 Harn served as the 2nd Assistant light keeper for six months after the death of her husband.
My painting, “Field of Dreams” is a tribute to St. Augustine’s two female light keepers. The clouds in my painting symbolize their dreams and the bright yellow daisies represent the perseverance of these women. (staugustinelighthouse.org)
Voted one of the world's most beautiful lighthouses, Fanad Lighthouse is one of 12 the Great Lighthouses of Ireland. It is located on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. The Fanad Lighthouse was first exhibited on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 181.
Fanad Lighthouse was built after the shipwreck of the Royal Navy Frigate, Saldanha, where 250 people died. The only survivor was the Captain’s parrot.
A helipad was added in 1921 for emergency services for Tory Island and Inishtrshull.
In 2012, the Commissioner of Irish Lights approached the community for their input on the idea of refurbishing the Fanad Lighthouse and opening it for tourism. The community group established Forbairt Fhanada Teoranta to manage Fanad Lighthouse. They administer accommodations, guided tours and the Visitors Center.