Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Old Man and the Lighthouse

Ernest Hemmingway wrote the book "The Old Man and the Sea" in the early 50's. To steal a title, I have maybe become the Old Man and the Lighthouse.

I'm not old in a traditional sense. I'm just shy of turning 52. Ok, for some, it's ancient. But for me, it seems life has just inched past the starting point. My only concern is I've realized there are fewer tomorrows than there are yesterdays.
Sometimes that's troubling. There is so much to see, do, enjoy, achieve, share and teach.

A few years ago, I journeyed to the Mablehead Lighthouse on the MarbleheadPennisula. The purpose of the trip was to view a lighthouse for no other particular reason than it was there. Something to do on a Sunday afternoon. A way to kill time and see my backyard.

The outcome of that original trip was quite different.
Over the past couple of years, I have made 4 or 5 journeys a year to the lighthouse. The need to go there is difficult to explain, and yet must be so simple. And yes, it is a need. There comes a time when it literally "calls" to my soul.

Not only is the view beautiful, the environment serene but the ability to simply release all of your tensions is unbelievable.

I have a hard time explaining why the trips are so therapeutic. Someone once said the sound of water lapping against the shore reminds us of our time in the womb where everything was safe, secure and provided. Maybe.

But for as much as the sounds of the gentle washing ashore of the water is the view. At certain vantage points, the water extends into the horizon. Maybe the hope of something beyond the horizon is also part of the equation. Maybe it's saying there is much more to ones journey to come. It could be saying that ones destiny has not been determined. It all depends on what direction you look.

The shoreline at Marblehead is also very much like a New England coastline. Instead of sand or mud, the shoreline is rock. Flat in many places, yet cut from years of water pounding against it in storm and the freeze and thaw cycle of Ohio winters. There are many flat surfaces, perfect for placing a favorite folding chair or chase lounger. The freeze and thaw process has also created natural places to sit and watch the water or those having fun boating or on wave runners. The freeze and thaw process also created "steps" from the lighthouse area to the water.

It's a great place to take a favorite book to read. I've read and meditated on Dave Ramsey's "More than Enough", the latest Grisham book or as I did with the trip yesterday paging through the novel by David Baldacci "The Camel Club". It's a great place to allow the words on the written page to expand and challenge your thoughts and imagination. You can place yourself in the mental pictures created by the written word. Or set the goals necessary when reading a how to manual.

There's plenty of shade. Unlike the beaches along the east coast, the trees are growing less than 10 feet from the water. You can get upclose and personal with the sights and scenery without risking torture from longterm exposure to the sun.

For better or worse, and in my case better, it's largely an overlooked Ohio treasure. Peace an quiet can usually be found. Although people from all backgrounds and walks of life do come and enjoy the same beauty I do, I have never met anyone who showed disrespect to another visitor or to the scenery itself.

And of course the views and the sounds are difficult to replicate. It's so relaxing while at the same time exhausting. It literally detoxes ones mind and spirits as you allow all of what's troubling about life come out and be swept away.

Maybe I have become the old man and his lighthouse.

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