Tag Archives: Lighthouses

Guide Our Feet into the Way of Peace, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“Guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:79

St Augustine Lighthouse 3-2011 B

“Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse.” ~ Japanese Proverb ~

Since last Tuesday I’ve felt like I have been living in a vacuum – you know that feeling of emptiness and void. I’ve had writer’s block like I’ve not had in a long, long time.

We have been saturated this past week with drama and tragedy beyond words. Add to that the anniversaries of past tragedies, a much overlooked earthquake in China and typical spring weather with tornadoes tossing people’s homes in the air like Lego blocks.

Then, I’ve been trying to scan images from the past 20 to 30 years and create a documented history of the images of my life. That went south this week with “technical difficulties”.

It’s enough to give a zombie PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)…

And, then I saw today’s picture among my digital files and the first words that crossed my mind were “guiding light”….

I have made it no secret I am enamored with lighthouses. I don’t even remember the first lighthouse I saw. It could have been the remnants of a lighthouse damaged by a storm on the Gulf Coast. But, it was enough to spark a live long passion and fascination. I’ve made it a goal to visit as many lighthouses as I can whenever I visit a location and a lighthouse is nearby. There are many stories that accompany these structures. Some are tragic and some are heroic…

Sound like this past week…

In their day Lighthouses were beacons of hope for seafarers that pointed the way to safe harbor. The lighthouse keep and his family were hearty stock who many times lived in isolation miles out to sea.

Imagine being on a small (by today’s standard) wooden ship, in the dark of night on a vast sea that is just as dark. You know ahead of you is trouble and danger…and then you see it…that steady blinkblinkblink of a light telling you exactly where the danger is. I can only imagine the joy and comfort that light offered in a formidable darkness.

Today’s lighthouse is the St. Augustine (Florida) Lighthouse. It stands on the north end of Anastasia Island.

As a young nation, one of the first things the United States did was commission several lighthouses at perilous points along the its coast. In 1824 the US government commissioned a lighthouse for St. Augustine at what would be its first location. It was place close to the location of where the Spanish had an old watchtower. By 1870 the light was facing erosion and in 1880 in crashed forevermore into the sea.

Foreseeing the inevitable, the government began construction on a new light in the present location before the old light deteriorated. The new light was completed in 1874 and lit in October of that year. That lighthouse is the one standing today.

In August of 1886 a massive 7.3 earthquake rocked Charleston, South Carolina. During the quake, the St. Augustine lighthouse swayed violently, but withstood the violent shaking.

Later, during World War II the lighthouse was used as a training station for the US Coast Guard and as a lookout position for enemy ships.

Looking back at the history of the St. Augustine lighthouse it amazes me what a remarkable allegory between that lighthouse and our nation.

It is and has been dark at the foot of the lighthouse…

It has been dark at the feet of our nation… As a nation we have seen upheaval, violence, war and erosion of beliefs, values and families. But, we are still standing much like that lighthouse…

Now, to move on and survive and for peace, we must look up…not at the darkness at the foot of the lighthouse, but up at the Light, the Guiding Light…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Boston Marathon Bombing April 15 2013, Florida, Lighthouses, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, St. Augustine FL, St. Augustine Lighthouse, Travel

Winter’s Bone Structure, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.” ~ Andrew Wyeth ~

Winterberries

A little over three years ago Tall & Handsome and I went to Minnesota to spend Thanksgiving with his family. We also celebrated his mother’s 90th birthday. It was a grand time.

I had spent several months in Minnesota back in the 1980s and had fallen in love with the natural beauty of the “arrowhead region” or the North Shore of Lake Superior. One of my very favorite spots on the North Shore is Split Rock Lighthouse.

So, when we started to head home, we took a little detour and headed north first. Sharing this lighthouse with T & H was something I eagerly looked forward to. I have long been a devotee of all things lighthouse, and Split Rock is one of the most unique and unusual I have visited.

Take into account also, we were headed north in the month of November…late November…getting closer and closer to the Canadian border. That equaled COLD!! There was already snow on the ground in places.

Even so, the experience was everything I had hoped for. T & H loved the place and we had a wonderful, romantic side trip. It was a much needed trip from the everyday to day stresses of life.

I had never seen this part of Minnesota during winter and during the drive one thing I began to notice were the trees loaded with bright red Winterberries. I loved the juxtaposition of the Winterberries against the background of the lighthouse in today’s picture of the day.

What delightful, vivid splashes of color the Winterberries brought against the stark beauty of Nature’s bone structure during winter!

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Lake Superior, Lighthouses, Minnesota, Photography, Picture of the Day, Split Rock Lighthouse, Tall & Handsome, Travel, Winter, Winterberries

Trimaran and Golf, by Beverly Hicks Burch

trimaram at harbour town

Today’s picture is another one taken from atop Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island, SC.

Tall & Handsome informed me this fine vessel is a trimaran, meaning there is a hull and two outriggers. He is the one with past sailing experience having grown up in Florida. Imagine that combination…a sailing Southwestern cowboy. He’s my Renaissance Man. I would have to admit this trimaran is the first I ever laid eyes on, but she was a beauty from the vantage point we had.

The background is the famous Harbour Town Golf Links I mentioned in a previous post. The course is infamous for the crazy hard 18th hole with its glorious view of the lighthouse.

Although our trip out to Hilton Head was a quick one, I would have to say it was one of the most enjoyable jaunts we’ve had in a while.

Thanks for the memories, honey…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Harbour Town Golf Links, Harbour Town Lighthouse, Harbour Town SC, Hilton Head Island, Lighthouses, Photography, Picture of the Day, South Carolina, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel, Trimaran

Colors at the Beach, by Beverly Hicks Burch

colors at the beach

There are certain rewards to climbing 114 stairs to the top of a lighthouse…the view being at the top of the list.

To many of you those 114 steps may not seem to be a big deal, but for me it was a milestone and major accomplishment. For, you see I am disabled. I have a very diminished lung capacity after having non-smoking lung cancer twice that resulted in having major portions of both lungs removed. Add to that autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia,  osteoarthritis and last year the diagnosis of an atrial septal aneurysm in my heart. (And, that’s the short list…)

So each step was like the Tim McGraw song, “Live Like You Were Dying”. The fact that I lost my beloved aunt less than a month ago also motivated me along. Aunt LaRue suffered with many of the same illness and then some. Her final years were so limited by what she could do and where she went. It was torture for her because she was a curious adventurous soul at heart. So, with each step I thought of Aunt LaRue and how I was still here and can still live…

Granted my ascent was slow. Many climber passed us on the way up and Tall & Handsome insisted I stop after every 10 steps and rest. (Confession is there were pauses on those 10 step sets.)

But, when I got to the top and stepped outside…there was my reward…a 360 degree panoramic view, fresh cooler air, a brisk wind to cool me off and the proud smile of my champion T & H.

I tried to stay as long as I could…

I took in every thing all around me and for some reason things from the top seemed much more vibrant and colorful. I was particularly taken by the kaleidoscope of colors and shapes in this picture. Who would have thought a parking lot could be such a happy looking place?

Things just look different from the view at the top…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Aunt LaRue, Beach Pictures, Disability, Harbour Town Lighthouse, Hilton Head Island, Lighthouses, Live Like You Were Dying, Photography, Picture of the Day, Road Trip, South, South Carolina, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel, Traveling with disabilities

Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island, SC, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Hilton Head LIghthouse

Tall & Handsome and I were in Savannah for a few days to take care of some business. Imagine our surprise when we found out we were just a hop, skip and jump away from Hilton Head, SC. Another place to mark off my list of “places to visit” was within a 45 minute drive.

I really should get a theme song that says, “ROAD TRIP!”…

For those of you who have never been…there are golf courses galore on Hilton Head Island…for as far as the eye can see. But, you know my feeling about golf. I agree with GK Chesterton: “I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles…”

My interest was in locating the lighthouse…and locate it we did! The view from the top was spectacular. The sky was unbelievably blue that day. There are 114 steps and I could only take 10 at at time with intervals of rest…T & H insisted upon that! (He’s very good to take care of me and help me accomplish goals with my disabilities. There are ways to accommodate bothersome disabilities and still see what you dream of seeing.)

The lighthouse is located on Hilton Head and is known as Harbour Town Lighthouse. It sits at the Harbour Town Marina and is a relatively new lighthouse. Building began in 1969 and was completed in 1970. It is operational and the 18th hole of the Harbour Town Golf Links is nearby.

At the top you will find a gift shop and museum. A lovely young woman named Nadia was there when we visited. Nadia was originally from Serbia and was just a delight and very knowledgeable. Be sure to check out the Museum and Shop at their website.

We had a very enjoyable day…something we’ve needed for a while…

More pictures to follow…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Harbour Town Lighthouse, Hilton Head Island, Lighthouses, Photography, Picture of the Day, South Carolina, Southern, Southern Lighthouses, Tall & Handsome, Travel

Cockspur Island Lighthouse (GA), by Beverly Hicks Burch

cockspur island lighthouse

This is Cockspur Island Lighthouse, one of the Southern lighthouses of the USA. It’s set on a little piece of land between Fort Pulaski (GA) and Tybee Island (GA) in the Savannah River.

As you can see, the lighthouse is in disrepair. I can’t recall ever seeing a lighthouse in this state of ruin. If your hearty enough you can hike out to the lighthouse. The day Tall & Handsome and I were at Fort Pulaski was right after the Race for the Cure in Savannah. Even though I had to “trolley” the 5K because I was on a cane due to a joint flair up in my left side, I would have loved to have taken the hike out to the lighthouse. But, alas, it was one of those “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” situations” that and the “watch out for alligators”.

Even though this little light cease operating in 1919, it has been lit since 2007 for strictly historical purposes. One different feature of this little light is the base. It’s shaped like the bow of a ship or boat. The thought was this would lessen the impact on the waves on the structure.

I took this picture from the ramparts of Fort Pulaski, which was no small feat considering the amazingly gusty wind that day. Holding the camera still for just a couple of seconds was nearly impossible. I was truly surprised when I saw the picture and realized it didn’t turn out looking like a bizarre wind sock…or a lighthouse zooming by on a skateboard…

The good news: for all you geeks and computer nerds out there…see what all that time on the computer does for you? Builds up the necessary muscles needs to hold a camera steady enough in almost gale force winds to capture an in focus picture!

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Cockspur Island Lighthouse, Georgia, Lighthouses, Photography, Picture of the Day, Savannah, Savannah River, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

St. Augustine Lighthouse as Dusk, by Beverly Hicks Burch

St Augustine Light at dusk

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Filed under Florida, Lighthouses, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, St. Augustine FL, St. Augustine Lighthouse, USA

St. Simons Island Lighthouse at Night

St Simons Island Lighthouse at Night

I didn’t think to take my camera down to the pier with me, so I pulled out my cell phone and snapped this picture of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse from the Neptune Park Pier after dinner this evening. Hopefully I can catch one with  the “grown up” camera later…I just can’t resist lighthouses…yeah, I know, I’m obsessed…

© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


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Filed under Lighthouses, Photography, St. Simons Island (GA) Lighthouse

Guiding Light, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Guiding Light

By Beverly Hicks Burch

In 1986 I began a love affair that continues to this day. Although I had seen the object of my affection before, my passion came to fruition in the state of Maine. It was in that state that I became hopelessly and totally enamored with…lighthouses.

There is just something about the symbolism of the silent sentinel that captures me and holds a special mystery for me. In Maine I toured, sought out and visited tens upon tens of lighthouses…probably many that most Mainers have never seen. Standing in the shadow of those great lights and looking out toward the powerful force of the sea it’s not hard to imagine the life of isolation…and solitary beauty many of the lighthouse keepers and their families had to live.

Some lighthouses were miles off the mainland, reachable only by boat. Most had seen their fair share of violent storms that threatened the existence of the life and soul of the personnel manning the light and in some cases the lighthouse itself. Some lights are rumored to be haunted by poor wretched souls who met tragic ends on their isolated watch. Some tales even weave sad stories of wives who took their own lives because they couldn’t take the isolation any longer. It would be rare to find a lighthouse that had never stood watch over a shipwreck, giving hope to survivors and guiding them safely to shore.

My favorite symbolism of the lighthouse is their representation of the guiding light. Those lighthouses offered guidance to seafarers amid storms, rocky shores and misty, foggy conditions. Sounds a lot like life in general, doesn’t it? Just like those ships and boats of old we need a Guiding Light or Force in our daily life.

Over the years I have made it a personal mission to seek out and visit any lighthouse that I possibly could. This past summer I visited Tybee Island Light near Savannah, GA. I have visited lighthouses in the South, in Hawaii and on the Great Lakes.

It was in 1987 I first became familiar with Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. It is without a doubt one of my favorite lighthouses. The beauty that surrounds it is unsurpassed and I think the architecture is unique and special. The lighthouse was completed in 1910 and cost a whopping (in 1910 dollars) $75,000.

As I mentioned the other day Tall & Handsome and I were visiting his family in Minnesota last month. I was very happy to have the opportunity to share some of my favorite “spots” with him when we took a quick jaunt up that way before we headed home. Happily we discovered a few new places on our own, including Two Harbors Lighthouse which is the oldest operating lighthouse in Minnesota and possibly the US.

I hope you enjoy the rest of this blog which is a picture journey of our stay on the North Shore.

Burch by a Birch

Burch by the Birch

Frozen in the Distance

You can see just a tad of Lake Superior on the horizon between the trees in the middle of the picture…

Gooseberry Falls

Gooseberry Falls, MN

Split Rock Lighthouse 3

Split Rock Light…from a distance…

Split Rock Lighthouse

See the split in the rock?

T & H meets the Lighthouse

T & H meets the lighthouse…

 

Well it's certainly taller Well, it certainly is taller than I am…

Lighthouse at Two Harbor 5 Two Harbors Lighthouse (MN)

Mini Light & Old man and the Sea A hearty soul faces the sea…

 

Propeller at Two Harbor It may be small…but not as small as you’d think…and it helps drive big boats

Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel 2 Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel on the North Shore

Onward to Superior Onward to Superior (WS) – this bridge connects Duluth, MN and Superior, WS

 

© 2009 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Lake Superior, Lighthouses, Minnesota, North Shore of Minnesota, Photography, Split Rock Lighthouse, Tall & Handsome, Travel, Two Harbors (MN) Lighthouse

Driving Miss Bevy, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Driving Miss Bevy

By Beverly Hicks Burch

It had been a very, very long time since I had smelled the fragrance of salt air that you can whiff only near the coastal areas of any body of ocean water, or for that matter felt the brisk sea breeze as it blew through my hair negating any chance of a “good hair day”. But, who cares, right once you’re near the coast? The clouds are even different there than in those further inland land locked locations…

But, I will have to admit this…I am a Gulf Coast gal…the Gulf of Mexico’s Gold Coast isn’t called that just for jollies. The salt air even tastes and smells different…more salty and crisp it seems and now, I was at a location on the Atlantic Seaboard. Nonetheless, it was unique, stunning and beautiful. It had a charm all its own.

You see last week I had to drive to Savannah, GA for the first time. The reason I went was more for personal business, and it was more a day trip, but while there I decided to make the best of the short trip.

The trip down reminded me of so many trips to and through LA. No folks, that’s not LA as in Los Angeles. If you are from Alabama you know LA means “Lower Alabama”. Well, driving through southern rural Georgia reminded me a whole lot of LA.

Now there was a time when my personal idea of hell, especially on Earth, was living in a concrete block house with no air conditioner in a sun-baked field in LA, with no good bookstore around and no place to purchase good skin care products. (No offense intended to anyone here…) I was reminded of that a time or two when I did indeed pass a couple of abandoned concrete houses.

But, nowadays when you travel through those very rural, southern areas of any Southern state you are just about as apt to be doing so with the latest technology like a GPS and a smartphone with 3G technology that does pick up a decent signal in most locations…even on what looks like deserted two lane county roads…hand to God, I can vouch for that one! You’ll also pass by some rather palatial homes, farms and horse ranches, see a lot of corn and soy bean farms, find shopping areas sprouted up…yes, there are signs of modern day “civilizations”. If it wasn’t so dang hot down there, I could live down there I thought, especially with the advent of UPS and FedEx who can delivery anything anywhere!

As I got closer to Savannah traffic began to get heavier and my thoughts began to focus on my upcoming meeting. But, I couldn’t help but see the natural charm and loveliness of Savannah. She is the “old South”…a true old Southern lady with history, grace and charm.

Down Oglethorpe - 2

Looking Down Oglethorpe Ave

I had gone down to see an attorney and as I parked on the side of the street my parking spot just happened to be right by an historical cemetery…the DAR…the Daughters of the American Revolution War Cemetery. As I stepped out of my car to plug in coins for the parking meter nearby church bells began to peal the noontide.

An Old Beacon in Savannah

For whom the Bells Toll…

I strolled through the cemetery getting a taste and feel for the past of Savannah and the citizens who settled this old Lady. The genealogist in me wished I could remember the one or two name way back in my own files who hailed from Savannah.

An Old old soul

An Old Soul…with Spanish Moss..

Final home

Final Home…

Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace…

Resting Place

Colonial Burial

Tragedy

Tragedy

Gate of final haven

The Gate In…and Out…

 

Ginko at the gate Ginko by the Gate – Ginko is also known as Maidenhair Tree

As I left the cemetery I looked across the street and saw the attorney’s office. It was located in a historic old row house…true Old South architecture…

Old brick and wood on Oglethorpe

Old Brick, Wood and Mortar on Oglethorpe

Well, I had to press on for my appoint and I will share more on that in a later blog…there are things that I do need to share…but, afterwards I had one more goal in mind and that was to pursuit one more passion of mine…lighthouses…

I had developed a fondness for lighthouses over 20 years ago. I’m not quite sure when the urge took hold, but I do know it solidified with the time I spent in Maine and the Northeast and other areas. I love what lighthouses represent…the Guiding Light…Harbor in a storm and so forth. I have seen so many…probably 100s by now and they are one of the things I collect.

Tybee Island, GA has one such lighthouse. It was a Colonial lighthouse, ordered built by Governor General James Oglethorpe in 1732 when Georgia was still a British colony. (Georgia was the 13th colony.) The light has been destroyed several times and the 94 foot final incarnation was built where it stands in 1916. The light has served the Island and location and seafarers for over 270 years. It boasts a nine foot tall First Order Fresnel Lens. The lens was actually damaged during the 1886 Charleston, SC earthquake. For years the lighthouse was run by that rare breed know as lighthouse keepers, then by the US Coast Guard. Now, the Lighthouse is maintained by the Tybee Island Historical Society.

Keeper's house 2 

The Keeper’s House

Tybee Island Lighthouse 5

Tybee Island Lighthouse

Tybee Island Lighthouse 6

Modern Day Encroaches…

Daymark

Current Daymark

Guiding Light

 The Guiding Light…The Fresnel Lens

Tybee Island Lighthouse plaque

The History…

Tybee Island Lighthouse plaque 2

The Society…

Iron works

Old Iron Works

 

Since I had arrived on a Tuesday and the museum was closed I was unable to tour the inside, but the outside is always a big payoff for me. After taking a few pictures I was back in my Jeep and taking a quick little tour around the Island and ready for seafood. I decided on The Crab Shack…a place that had been recommended by someone in the attorney’s office…a guy who was from Maine…a small world, huh?

After deviled crab and boiled shrimp outdoors “sitting by the dock of the bay” so to speak, I knew I had to get my Jeep in gear and head home. Daylight would be fading…and I was fading fast. It would take me a while to recover from this little jaunt…I still am…but, it was kinda fun driving Miss Bevy `round those back roads of southern Georgia…

© 2009 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Charleston SC Earthquake of 1886, Fresnel Lens, Georgia, History, James Oglethrope, Lighthouses, Lower Alabama, Old Southern Buildings, Photography, Savannah, South, The Crab Shack, Travel, Tybee Island GA, Tybee Island GA Lighthouse