Nothing about the past two years has been normal. Yet, like so many others, I refused to loosen my grip on a little thing so vital to our lives – joy. If all things familiar were not attainable due to circumstances larger than us in 2021, then I was determined to treasure any and all semblance of the good times we once knew.
For me, the notion of joy goes much deeper than fun – though fun is certainly part of its irresistible exuberance. Joy is akin to light – a light not for the eyes but rather the heart.
Thankfully, lighthouses are one of life’s gems that have long brought great joy to people – and I count myself blessed to be a part of this close-knit brother and sisterhood. Delve even further into joy and its romantic ties to lighthouses and one will discover that such delight can be more memorable when these moments of fun are shared with family and friends.
A sense of duty still prevails upon our sentinels of the sea, but lighthouses are also meant to be visited, admired, cherished – and occasionally climbed by those on land who find their beauty and charm too alluring to resist.
The climbing aspect – and all the social, fun-making associated with ascending and congregating with others atop a lofty sentinel, was missing throughout 2020 due to the pandemic. My mind understood completely – my heart though, was bummed.
Collectively, we shrugged off the dampness of disappointment this caused in the lighthouse world and anchored our hopes to a different outcome in 2021.
And though 2021 would start off cautiously, by summertime, the wheels of excitement began to turn. Some lighthouses would indeed reopen their doors and welcome visitors to make that familiar sojourn up the stairs to where eagles soar.
No, the activity was not completely carefree. There were health and safety protocols to follow and the groups were smaller, but this was a small price to pay for people to have a chance to “walk in the steps of the keepers” once again.
Personally, there was no finer moment of sharing lighthouse joy with others in 2021 then when a passionate group from the United States Lighthouse Society visited Owls Head Light in early October during the organization’s annual Maine tour.
The tour patrons journeyed from all parts of the country and were more than ecstatic to be on the “lighthouse trail” again. As I observed their smiles, laughter, warm friendships and yearning to learn more about our lighthouse heritage, I realized that I was immersed in an unfolding moment of pure joy.
As it should be, this joy was not found in self-pursuit, but rather in sharing an amazing experience with others – atop Owls Head Light with its fourth order lens aglow in this particular case.
On this day, the sun was radiant and a historic lens was shining, but neither bright light could outshine the smiles and happy hearts of the U.S. Lighthouse Society members– and that was all the reward I needed. Joy had finally come full circle!
Happy New Year!