Friday Favorites: Lighthouses

Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington, Michigan

Who can resist the historical significance and romance of lighthouses? Not me. I've been under their spell as long as I can remember.

I shared my love for lighthouses with my two sons when I was homeschooling them by introducing them to the heroic stories of Abbie Burgess, Ida Lewis, and Katherine Walker. This resulted in one of the first songs I ever wrote, "Lighthouse Keeper." Writing songs for my kids was the spark that lit the fire to make music a big part of my life again.

Researching facts in order to write a song is all well and good. Living out the experience would be even better. So, on March 27, 2011, my two boys and I embarked on an adventure — to be the lighthouse keepers of the Rose Island Lighthouse on an 18-acre island off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island. You can read all about this adventure on my lighthouse blog. It's the first adventure on The Keeper's Log, so start on page 13 here and work your way back to the more recent adventures.

 The light that greets me when I get home. The lighthouse stands about 3' tall. It is made out of wood — painted white with blue accents. It has a rope railing around the catwalk. Thank you, PD.

The light that greets me when I get home. The lighthouse stands about 3' tall. It is made out of wood — painted white with blue accents. It has a rope railing around the catwalk. Thank you, PD.

I can tell you, we never wanted to return to modern civilization. The island, the ocean, the lighthouse became a part of who we are — even though it was just one week in time. This feeling never left me, and I later channeled it into the song "Flashing in the Dark" — a song written from the point of view of the island and lighthouse. There is strong evidence to suggest that Rose Island was once connected to the coast of Africa. What if Rose Island missed Africa like lover's miss each other? Sigh . . .

Continuing for a moment with this streak of romance is another lighthouse — the Saugerties Lighthouse in Saugerties, New York. Steve and I spent a romantic weekend at this bed-and-breakfast, which became the story that turned into the song "Saugerties, New York." You can listen to the song here and read about the adventure starting on this page here.

I love the symbolism of having a guiding light — something to guide me through those rough waters called daily life. Each night, when I come home, I am greeted by the warm glow of a small, wooden lighthouse on my porch. A Keeper, and cherished friend, built and shared this handmade gift with me one night after a performance in Michigan. Author Virginia Woolf once said, "Lighthouses are endlessly suggestive signifiers of both human isolation and our ultimate connectedness to each other." I wonder. . . . Does he know . . . just how much this light in the darkness means to me at the end of each day . . .