The Lighthouse is Real

Postcards from Acadia Series


On a day chilly and clear, we drove to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. We walked the trail, scrambled over enormous pink rocks, saw black angry waves beneath. And then – there it was, the lighthouse. I choked when I caught the first glimpse of it and stood motionless for a while not being able to talk or take pictures. Or breathe. So the lighthouse is real. I always thought that the postcards and the pictures made the lighthouse look slightly more spectacular, slightly more picteresque than it could possibly be in reality.

But there it was, I was looking at it and it was lovelier than any postcard that I have ever seen. Eventually, I came back to my senses – enough to take pictures anyway, many, many pictures. When it was time to go, I felt a very real, non-metaphoric, physical pain in my heart, and felt tears coming. I didn’t want to leave. I couldn’t even look away from it.

I look at my pictures now and I am overtaken by a strange, funny feeling of guilt. A guilt of a person who took a picture that looks lovely and even perfect… And yet it’s not because a photographer wads talented or even simply good. It’s because God made this place that one can’t take a bad picture of.

Why does the lighthouse symbol have such power over our imagination? The lighthouse is protecting the ships from getting crushed on the rocks. And we all have lighthouses in our real life, whether we realize it or not. Some of our lighthouses are people and then there is the lighthouse of faith that never lets the ocean of despair take hold of our little ship.


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