The Difference

Last Saturday I figured it out.

The Lighthouse cruise took off from the Town Pier loaded with enthusiasts that included Haley and me. There were stops at Minot (more on that down the page), Graves End, Boston Light, and the Nantucket Lightship at anchor in Charlestown.

Graves End was spooky and we witnessed the laws of nature with a seal diving for and munching back a fish for lunch while we took in the Light. There was a brooding quality – the name gets you there – and I had a sense that this was a place you could set a credible mystery and make the setting a player in the story.

The Nantucket Lightship was just plain cool. In my childhood I had a post card of it framed and hung in my bedroom. I can\’t tell you why I thought this was fitting. I just know I liked it then and like it now. The imagination can put you on that ship in a storm. The tinging of the hull, the bounce side to side, sailors holding on, maybe lightning. It is good to see the ship getting some attention and not being lost to time.

Boston Light is placed on the most amazing colored stone. Our guide for the day, true expert Doug Bingham, shared that this light sits on a geological fault line. It is hard to believe anything could move that beautiful stone. For forty to forty five weeks a year the Keeper there, Sally Snowman, lives cut off from shore, her groceries delivered by boat along with everything else she needs to work and to live. This is a quiet place, stolid; it must be brutal in January and February.

Though I am getting to it last in this post, it was Minot\’s Light that really fired me up when we visited. The captain was able to get us amazingly close to the Light and I found it incredibly exciting. The Historical Society has shown interest in the Light since the Federal Government put it up for sale. Part of that process was supposed to include an inspection of the inside. Some images of the inside have been shared and Minot is a granite silo separated by levels with grate platforms. I want very much to be in the group that gets to inspect it further but safety concerns make that unlikely. We were so close the other day that the ladder was calling to me like a Siren. I was ready to jump right out and swim over.

I found out that very few of my fellow cruisers wanted to make that trip with me. To them the ladder looked treacherous and the idea of being alone inside terrifying. I would have gone up there in a second and posed like King Kong on the Empire State building. (I love Photoshop) Maybe someday.

On the ride back to Scituate I figured something out. These other lights gave off an air of mystery and of danger. My light, Old Scituate Light doesn\’t. While across time there were surely dangers here, Scituate Light is not off putting; it is welcoming, encouraging, beckoning, a far more powerful Siren to far more people than Minot was to me. The number of visitors daily and weekly and monthly are beyond counting.

In any given hour there might be someone sitting on the wall in front of the Light. Last Sunday as I got up to get ready for the Open House there was a father and child walking up the walkway at 5:00 am. I know I had heard voices at 2:30 am when I got up to to check windows and doors and lights. (Insomnia is a blessing for all the things you can get done) People are there now and will be there tonight at midnight and that is only part of what sets this Light apart.

You can get here, you can learn the history of the place, you can talk to Jules or to Haley, you can walk your dog, check out the flowers, (Thanks to Erin for watering by the way), maybe see a news crew checking out rumors of a shark, (Haley had an exchange with a very witty man that had them speculating about the stories they could fabricate for the news; Haley got it to the point where the shark had come up on the beach and eaten a dog), we had three neighbors helping another with a flat tire last night, car shows, parades, photographers, videographers and wedding parties, (same sex and mixed), there was a man dressed as a woman taking pictures last week and saying that they would be shared on the Internet. We have swimmers, fisherman, kayakers, bikers, joggers, the romantic and the reflective and the party hardy.

I know none of the other lights have this bustle, this traffic, this life. That is the difference, the special nature of Old Scituate Light.

2 responses to “The Difference”

  1. Bob, it was nice meeting you and Haley on the trip. Myles and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel just as you do about Minot. I would have climbed that ladder in a heartbeat, scary as it may seem. I'm enjoying your blog, too!


  2. Thank you Polly and for the kind word for Haley – I will race you to the ladder one of these days!


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