My mother loves lighthouses. She adored the Barnegat Lighthouse, in southern Ocean County, NJ, which we could see from across the bay at Island Beach State Park, and the Cape May Lighthouse at the very tip of the state. The way she lit up at the sight of these coastal towers spawned many birthday and Christmas gifts involving lighthouse pictures, paintings, candles, decorations and other items. The last lighthouse gift I gave her was a blue and white title I made in a pottery class.
Like her green eyes, love of the beach and Irish pride, my mother also passed down to her oldest child a fascination with lighthouses. These beacons beckon as I travel around Australia. I even once walked for miles as a storm approached to see a lighthouse up close, its gleaming whiteness in sharp contrast to the black clouds behind it.
It occurred to me the other day that I’ve never directly asked my mother why she loves lighthouses so. I emailed her yesterday to find out and this is what she wrote:
I love the fact that ships were guided from the sea to find land, that people lived in them and took care of them for the safety of ships. I just think they are so unique…no two are alike.
So to my mom in New Jersey and all you other lighthouse-lovers out there, this is for you.