It’s no secret, and if you are a regular reader of Mama’s Empty Nest, you’ll know that I love lighthouses.
I love visiting them and I love capturing their likeness with my camera. I haven’t always possessed an affinity for those beacons of light, but it’s become an acquired pleasure during many of Papa’s and my travels.
For me, lighthouses, no matter their colors, sizes, and materials they are constructed from, are simply beautiful. Wherever they stand tall and scenic on the shores of a river, lake, bay, or ocean, they provided beacons of light for centuries while guiding mariners safely through dangerous reefs, harbors, and shorelines.
Their histories prove interesting and the scenic sights they provide inspire me. They offered a symbol of hope for sea goers in search of secure passage amidst storms and the darkness of night. And that promising symbolism still resonates today.
When I gaze upon a lighthouse, I often recall an old hymn, Send the Light by Charles H. Gabriel, which my elderly grandmother taught me as a child while we snuggled together in her rocking chair.
There’s a call comes ringing o’er the restless wave,
Send the light! Send the light!
There are souls to rescue, there are souls to save,
Send the light! Send the light!
Send the light, the blessed Gospel light.
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, and let its radiant beams
Light the world forevermore!
Hope for a dark world – that’s the light of the Gospel message. Perhaps knowing that as a believer in Jesus Christ is what draws me to lighthouses.
This week, a special day honoring those earthly beacons of light will be celebrated. August 7th is National Lighthouse Day, and on that day, our country’s lighthouses will be open to for public visitors, if possible.
Way back on August 7, 1789, the United States Congress passed an act to establish and federally support lighthouses and the first federal lighthouse was commissioned then.
Fast forward to the same day in 1989, Congress passed a resolution designating August 7th as National Lighthouse Day to commemorate the act’s 200th anniversary. But the resolution was only good for that year.
A second resolution passed in 2013 when the Senate declared August 7th as National Lighthouse and Lighthouse Preservation Day, but again only for that year.
However, even though officially the day is not listed on our country’s calendar of “national days,” lighthouse organizations across the nation still celebrate August 7th as National Lighthouse Day.
According to the National Lighthouse Foundation, “… the nationwide lighthouse community continues to “keep the flame” of our rich lighthouse heritage burning bright. Each year, August 7 is celebrated as National Lighthouse Day, with lighthouse groups offering the general public a host of fun-learning activities to enjoy – including tours, cruises and presentations that pay special tribute to America’s lighthouses and their grand history.”
From their perches on shores, coasts, rocky cliffs, and even islands, these beacons of light have stood the test of time through adverse conditions, violent storms, high wind, and sometimes neglect, but are being preserved by those who understand their value, their historical significance, and their beauty.
Recently on a road trip to our son’s family home in the state next door, Papa and I had the opportunity to revisit a Lake Erie lighthouse, the oldest one in continuous operation on the American side of the Great Lakes.
When we visited this site a couple of years ago, Marblehead Lighthouse was shrouded in scaffolding and covered for repainting and some repair work, so I couldn’t take a photo showing its beauty.
This time, our stop came to lovely fruition as we not only viewed the historic lighthouse pictured at the beginning of this post, but Papa and our oldest grandchild also climbed the circular stairs inside leading to a grand view of Lake Erie from the top of the tower.
I greatly appreciate the time and effort taken to preserve our treasured lighthouses each time I visit one of these magnificent structures and have the privilege to capture their lovely essence in a photograph.
Go visit a lighthouse if you can. You don’t have to wait for a proclaimed national day to do so.
“I do love to capture beauty in this world. And photos can last the test of time.” ~ Nathaniel Buzolic