Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Why we love lighthouses


I'm a lonely lighthouse, not a ship out in the night 
I'm watching the sea 

She's come half-way round the world to see the light 

and to stay away from me 

There is a shipwreck lying at my feet 
Some weary refugee from the rolling deep 
Ah, could you lose it all and fall for me? --"Lighthouse, " James Taylor


Why are we fascinated with lighthouses?

There are few things more beautiful and noble than a lighthouse...its very existence aimed at saving lives.  Lighthouses are the stuff of romance, of danger, of history, and as such, they are fascinating.

Today is National Lighthouse Day, so I decided to pay tribute to this ancient and lovely structure.

From Wikipedia:

Lighthouses mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoalsreefs, safe entries to harbors, and can also assist in aerial navigation. Once widely used, the number of operational lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance and replacement by modern electronic navigational systems.
Lighthouses go all the way back to ancient Egypt and Roman times. Probably the most famous lighthouse is the Lighthouse of Alexandria,on the coastal island of Pharos at Alexandria, Egypt. It was built more than 200 years before the birth of Christ, and is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Lighthouses also provide spiritual symbolism.  Scripture urges us to be "a light on a hill."  An old gospel song, "The Lighthouse," compares Jesus to a lighthouse:

 I thank God for the Lighthouse

I owe my life to Him

For Jesus is the Lighthouse
And from the rocks of sin
He has shown a light around me
That I could clearly see
If it wasn't for the Lighthouse, tell me

Where would this ship be? 


While modern lighthouses may be less beautiful and more functional, there are groups like the World Lighthouse Society that are committed to preserving and restoring lighthouses around the world.

Photograph by firefighter.kevin on Flickr

I leave you with Nickel Creek's "The Lighthouse's Tale," a hauntingly beautiful song.


Liz said...

Beautiful post. The Cloch Lighthouse is not far from me and was used to guide ships coming up the River Clyde to Greenock in Scotland.
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Cindy Swanson said...

Ah, Liz, that's wonderful! I'm sure you have some beautiful scenery all around you. Someday I'll make it to Scotland!

Cindy Swanson said...

Well, after Googling the Cloch Lighthouse, it was so beautiful I just had to add a picture of it to my post.

Heaven's Walk said...

Beautiful phost, Cindy! My hubby and I used to be members of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Association. We loved to spend a couple weeks in the summer discovering as many of the GL lighthouses as we could...even the abandoned ones. So your post touched some special memories in my heart! :)

xoxo laurie

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