Friday, August 7, 2009

Candle in the Night

Have you ever awoken in the middle of the night and had to get up out of bed to check out a noise, soothe a crying baby, or regret that last minute glass of water before you went to sleep? If you're like most modern day people, you probably have the glow of an alarm clock or even a night light or flashlight at the ready to help you navigate your course. But imagine if it were truly pitch black how many things you might bump into or stub your toe on in just the short distance from one place to another in your home.

Very few of us have had much experience with situations where there was no light anywhere around us, unless of course you live in or enjoy going to remote areas, far away from the light pollution of the nearest city or town. Imagine life before electricity, before sonar, before GPS... and imagine how very dark the night was. Now imagine you're out on the sea, or even a large lake... and the night sky is filled with the clouds or a brewing storm, blocking out the silver of the moon, hiding the stars - those pinpoints of navigation - from your view. There is nothing to guide you but your gut until you see a tiny point of light flashing in the distance. You steer your vessel toward it, a candle in the night, a beacon of light warning you of shallow shoals or rocky cliffs. You've been saved by a lighthouse.

They've been in existence for thousands of years, the earliest known being the Lighthouse at Alexandria in Egypt believed to have been completed around 280 BC. The typical structure that most people associate with a lighthouse - the tall cylindrical structure - was designed for its ability to withstand high winds and is the type usually built in areas with rocky shoals rather than high cliffs. Lighthouses with their lights built closer to the ground were more suited to high cliffs, since dense shoreline fog could obstruct a light raised too high above the level of the water. In a bittersweet turn of events, modern technology, with great strides being made in the development of satellite based navigational systems, has all but made these historic and romantic "candles in the night" all but useless for much more than a landmark.

I'm not sure why I happen to love lighthouses, but I do. In fact, the lighthouse that you see at the beginning of this article is a large lighthouse mural that I did on a narrow wall in the "corner" of our office here at home. The remainder of the mural, which stretches above the cabinets that circle the room on 3 sides, also includes smaller lighthouses... and even the holiday decorations we put up at Christmastime have a seaside theme with several lighthouses included. For day to day, we have several photos and miniature lighthouses sprinkled around the room, definitely a lighthouse lover's dream come true!

Now, if I could only find the opportunity to actually visit one of these beauties some day! And I'm obviously not the only one with a penchant for these pillars of light - when I searched for lighthouses on Etsy, the results turned up over 2500 lighthouse related items... my favorites are those you see here! So, if you're a lighthouse lover like me, or are looking for the perfect gift for someone who is, be sure to make Etsy your first stop for shopping for the perfect addition to your collection of these "candles in the night!" Happy National Lighthouse Day... and for more fascinating information about lighthouses by the people who know them best or to find out what you can do to help preserve these historical landmarks, visit some great links here.

Thank you to the following Etsy shops for allowing me to display their great lighthouse products in this post!

the Sailor's Guardian- MountainNavy
Small Lighthouse Mosaic Focal Tile - gottahaveitcreations
Carolina Light Houses Message Box - TandTDesignCompany
Nautical Lighthouse Hobo bag - sewinggreen
Safe Sailing - naturesnurturelamps


Howling Caterpillars said...

Lovely, Mystic!!!
I could see Boston Light from my bedroom window growing up...

Anonymous said...

Oh I love the lighthouses..

Patti said...

Such beautiful light houses. We have them all around the Great Lakes, too, and it's fun to visit them!

Cris said...

Thank you for the honor of being one of your chosen three to feature. I have a dear friend in Maine that is a true lover of lighthouses. Thank you for your most encouraging words regarding my bag. It's the only one I'll make so let's hope some one shares your love for it. I lived my life in Maine where of course that are many beauties. Did you know the lighthouse featured in "Forest Guump" at the end of his running across country is in Port Clyde Maine!!!

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