I remember saying back then how much I'd always wanted to visit it. So back in the spring of this year when I was trying to decide on a summer vacation, I figured it was high past time. We rented a little house right on the beach in Rodanthe for the first week in August and on our first full day there, the lighthouse was calling my name so in spite of the cloudy, rainy day we drove the thirty minute drive to see her. I swear when I got my first glimpse I heard Etta James's voice in my head because At Last. At last.
Since it was such a dreary day though, we made the decision to get up early the next morning, when it was supposed to be sunny, and go back for our climb to the top. Devin, unfortunately, did not see the magic in getting up at the back crack of dawn to climb a lighthouse while on his beach vacay so it was just Charlie, Dracen and I.
We were among the first group of the day to go up and about midway, Dracen pauses at the window (which was a relief for me because oh-my-sweet-mercy-I-thought-I-was-in-better-shape). I thought he was just enjoying the view at first but when I went over to him, I realized he was in a bad way. My first thought was that he was feeling dizzy and lightheaded since he is prone to fainting spells but he was seriously distraught as he managed the words, "I'm really afraid of heights."
I had no idea.
Thankfully, a very kind park ranger supervising the climb came over and soothed him with his words, explaining to him that she was one the most well-built lighthouse he'd ever been in and that he had complete confidence in her ability to keep him safe. It worked. Miraculously. He took a deep breath, nodded, and continued on to the top where you never would have guessed the boy had ever had the slightest fear of heights.
And wow. Just wow. That view from the top was worth every penny paid and every step climbed. I imagined all the years it had stood strong and tall through stormy weather and rough waters to guide the ships passing in the night sea to safety. I took a deep breath of ocean air, then let it out in a long, slow awe-filled sigh of wonder and thought of all the lone souls who'd kept her light burning bright and steady for over a century's worth of time.
I think Virginia Woolf's words are a beautiful description of why so many of us share this lighthouse love and fascination.
This is Day 16.