February 19, 2016

Umpqua and Cape Blanco Lighthouses

"Actuality is when the lighthouse is dark between flashes: 
it is the instant between the ticks of a watch: 
it is a void interval forever slipping through time: 
the rupture between past and future: 
the gap at the poles of the revolving magnetic field, 
infinitesimally small but ultimately real."
George Kubler

During our return to our "Central Coast Hidey Hole" we got a chance to experience a few days of torrential downpours, with wind gusts that toppled trees around us and huge winter swells that pounded our local beaches. As we watched the bountiful rain cascading down our windows it led us to dwell on those "Lighthouses" in our lives. Moments or individuals that have been either guides to a safe and snug place or ones that have warned us to go in another direction. How many times can you recall that welcoming porch light, a familiar beacon signaling that you made it home, or the flashing lights of emergency vehicles prompting you to be vigilant and seek a detour?  Either way, we continue to pay attention to the flashes, as well as those moments in between.

It is with little wonder that mother nature joggled our memories of a couple of beloved Waypoints...those unique Oregonian Lighthouses. One, whose beacon flashes a welcoming light (2 white and one red) guiding towards a safe harbor. Another, whose bright beam flashes white every 23 seconds through dark, foggy skies as a stern warning to steer clear of Oregon's most Westerly shoreline.

The Umpqua River Lighthouse, built in 1894, guides maritimers to the mouth of the Umpqua River and a safe harbor. Our first visit to this awesome lighthouse was in July 2007. We experienced great summer time weather and were treated to a spectacular view of Winchester Bay. We did tour the adjacent Coastal History Museum in the historic Coast Guard Station, but the big excitement back then were the perfectly situated Lighthouse Host RV pads. Perched on the cliff in front of the museum, hosts are treated to that awesome 180 degree view of the bay. Someday, we mused that we would be hosting here. 

Forward time to 2015 and we are now nomads. Once again we toured the museum, but we also had time to go on the lighthouse tour...and we were quite happy we did. This tour is normally led by the lighthouse hosts, but on this particular day we had the official lighthouse keeper, "MJ", who is a wonderful guide and naturally extremely knowledgeable and passionate of her historic landmark. Her tour was great!! Those host sites with the awesome views are still there and our hosting and docent background made us a "first round" choice to volunteer here but we quickly realized that large school groups would be among the many visitors to the lighthouse. And it made Imkelina wonder, why would a recently retired educator want to jump right back into that??  Per chance, in the distant future.

Cape Blanco State Park...the site named after one of my seafaring relatives, features another Oregon gem...

Cape Blanco Lighthouse, built in 1870 due to the many shipwrecks at this point, warns maritime navigators of dangerous waters. It's light is visible for 22 miles at sea. Cape Blanco is the most southern of Oregon lighthouses and is the westernmost point in Oregon.

As we walked the bluff and climbed down to the beach below, the fierce winds, white caps and off-shore rock formations validated this dangerous point of the Oregon coastline.

As we reflect back over the last 20 years, we realize that there are many wonderful individuals that are able to be a welcoming lighthouse, a symbol for spiritual strength and emotional guidance. We know that to be true, for some of those gifted souls have become part of our pack. We will always be a beacon of joy...radiating a light to those in darkness and a harbor of tranquility for those seeking a safe harbor. May the guiding lights of this world never diminish.