Light Keepers
Sentinel of the Ocean
Perhaps the invention of the lighthouse was prompted by worry and anguish. At fall of light those waiting ashore for the return of simple craft, held offshore by wind, tide, current or hostile Gods.
Later the improvised idea had turned into an institution. Fire was given a fixed location to radiate and become as effective as possible. It was assigned a ‘Feeder’, keepers, who enjoyed a sort of sacred prestige, when fire was still considered part of the mystery of nature.
When cities began to form on the shores of seas and oceans, these custodian structures heralded safe citadels — ports. The fire-light grew taller, towers that required endless supplies of wood.
The real lighthouse — those of legends and tales, films and novels — not the burly beacon or high street lamp, but slender elegant towers standing way out to sea, among surging rocks and noisy ragged coastlines somewhere at the top of the world, reached only by boat, visited by seagulls, onced lived on by retired old sailor’s occupying time by radio and weekly mail, when possible. This lighthouse was
a coastal minaret, in which only those who worshipped solitude enjoyed celebrating the ceremony of lighting and extinguishing —
as part of the original hermit’s existence.