Memories evoke strong emotions. They often have a way of becoming larger than life. Marketers use their power to sell products.
Memories can also transform grief into hope. I know because I’ve recently lost three loved ones. My memories have provided me comfort and renewal.
These past couple of years since my lighthouse travels have grounded to a halt, all I have are memories to fuel my art.
My trip to Ireland was the highlight of my lighthouse travels. My memories give me a sense of contentment and peace.
Memories have a way of becoming mile markers. They represent significant moments as we journey through life.
I thought about Dante’s quote “The Path to Paradise begins in Hell” after visiting New Dorp Lighthouse.
Access to New Dorp Lighthouse has been difficult since its inception in 1855. Surrounded by a Moravian Cemetery and a daunting forest, light keepers faced challenges getting to the lighthouse. The government’s right of way was a tiny path through the trees. The government had to cede land to the owners of the cemetery to gain access to their roadway.
When I visited New Dorp Lighthouse, I felt like I was reliving the challenges of the first light keepers.
My son and I climbed over a perilous trail in the darkness to reach the lighthouse. As we approached the lighthouse, a ray of sunlight pierced the darkness and bounced off the humble lighthouse and lighted our way.
To sketch the lighthouse, I stood on a slippery incline while trying to keep my balance behind a fence in a threatening forest.
New Canal Lighthouse suffered severe damage during Hurricane Katrina and also Hurricane Rita in 2005.The pilings were destroyed but the lighthouse remained mostly intact. However, the lighthouse was dismantled and a replica built. The wood from the 1890 lighthouse is incorporated into the present lighthouse. (www.saveourlake.org)
Pondering the all this, I became fascinated with the lighthouse’s reconstruction. It resembled a peaceful home, not a lighthouse. I had seen many cylindrical lighthouses; this was my first time seeing a cottage-style lighthouse. Thinking about its construction, the new pilings and the destruction from the hurricanes, I included streaks of blue color and faded dashes of yellow in my painting to symbolize its watery misfortune.
Worth the wait
I waited four years for an opportunity to visit the Staten Island Lighthouse. It was closed to visitors and hidden behind trees.
I finally was granted an opportunity to visit the lighthouse last October. I was exhibiting lighthouse paintings at the National Lighthouse Museum, when the Curator, Tina Curado, extended an invitation. The National Lighthouse Museum had recently become a steward of the lighthouse.
The beautiful, pyramidal 1912 lighthouse lived up to my expectations. The statuesque brick lighthouse stood solemnly upon cascading stairs like an Amazon temple. The plush green foliage surrounding it seemed to bow in submission.
Standing in awe, I anxiously entered the lighthouse. After climbing the 90 feet lighthouse, I paused and gazed at a picturesque scene of Lighthouse Hill and Staten Island. An overcast sky framed the trees and houses.
Before leaving the lighthouse, I happily drew a few quick sketches.
Sea turtles, shorebirds, colonial seabirds and migratory birds quitely converge near Egmont Key Lighthouse. They are reminders of its fabled days when conch shells answered signals from passing vessels. The current lighthouse, built 1858, is now part of Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge near Tampa. The missing lens gives no clue of its storied past.
As the only lighthouse on the busy passageway from Key West to St. Marks Lighthouse near Tallahassee, it was important. In 1898 during the Spanish American War, Fort Dade was built on Egmont Key as part of a coastal defense system. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, most of the buoys on Florida’s west coast were managed by the depot on Egmont Key.
The lighthouse slowly diminished in importance and in stature. In 1944, the upper portion of the lighthouse was removed along with the Fresnel lens. In 1989, an automated rotating beacon was installed.
In 2013, the Lens pedestal was shipped for restoration to Tallahassee. Perhaps one day the lens will be returned to the truncated Egmont Key Lighthouse and its former glory restored.
Songwriters, poets, artists and romantics have long been fascinated with the moon. Native Americans have paid tribute to the moon especially during Harvest season.
Crooked River Lighthouse features a Full Moon Climb with Drum Ceremony on September 19 at 7-9 pm.
The event recalls the Harvest or Corn Moon. During this season, Native Americans harvested corn and other crops.
The night’s highlights include a lighthouse climb, an informal drumming circle open to all guests and a Sacred Drum Ceremony that celebrates the Harvest Moon.
The Harvest Moon is the first full moon of the fall equinox. This is when the sun is exactly above the Equator. There are 12 hours of daylight and sunlight in some areas.
Marine debris is one of the biggest threats our oceans face but you can become a part of its solution. Join volunteers in your community for Coastal Cleanup day this Saturday. Make this a time to reconnect with people and the waters you love.
Learn how you can connect and collect, at the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup website.
Coastal Cleanup volunteers on St. George Island, Florida can meet at Downtown Lighthouse Park in front of Cape St. George Lighthouses.
Florida has 30 lighthouses and the second largest coastline in the United States.
Most of Florida's 1,100 coastline is bordered by beaches, and about 50 percent exists in its natural state. Most of these unspoiled beaches are in the northern part of the state. Florida's coastline provides a natural habitat for many wildlife.
Show your love to your beaches. This year more than ever beaches have provided a safe place to escape.
Health care providers since the 18th century have prescribed curative trips to shore. The closer to the ocean you are the better you feel. “The sounds of the waves alters the brain pattern and lulls you into a relaxed state and rejuvenates the body and mind.”
Ireland’s Big Beach is September 17-19. During Big Beach Cleanup Day,
Clean Coast Volunteers are asked to quantify the amount of litter on Irish beaches.
In 2019, approximately 8,000 volunteers removed nearly 45 tons of marine litter across the country.
After Every Storm the Sun Will Smile-William Alger
I painted the Cape Florida Lighthouse after a week of rain. I drove to Key Biscayne to see the lighthouse in sunny Florida. Standing behind a canopy of palm trees, the beautiful lighthouse towered against a clear blue sky. The lighthouse was surrounded by mangroves and not condos, thanks to the park's namesake, Bill Baggs. The Bill Baggs State Park was opened in 1967 foiling efforts by developers.
Cape Florida Lighthouse has witnessed many struggles, hardships, and endured a fire. It has withstood more than 4 dozen hurricanes, including Hurricane Andrew. Its existence predates the founding of the of Miami. During the Second Seminole Wars in 1836, the lighthouse was destroyed. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1846-47.
I love Hillsboro Lighthouse. The idyllic setting reminds me of Gilligan's Island. While the castaways were marooned, thankfully tour boats depart and embark regularly. The Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society has a tour scheduled for this Saturday, September 11.
Swaying palms trees and calming azure water, belies its noble purpose. The lighthouse was built after four centuries of wrecks on area reefs. It has a black and white day mark. The top of the lighthouse is painted black to make it visible above the trees. The bottom white half contrasts against the trees.
The lighthouse, also called "Big Diamond" is unique. With a beam of 28 nautical miles, it has the strongest light beam of all US lighthouses. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.