Dressed for the Season:
Lighthouses Decked Out for the Holidays
Seamen love to tell the story of a schooner captain whose vessel was caught in a fierce storm a few
miles off the New England coast.  Although blinded by pitch darkness and heavy weather, he
decided to make a run for a small harbor nearby.  The approaches to the harbor were littered with
rocks and dangerous shoals, but the captain managed to avoid these obstacles and, before long, his
schooner was riding safely at anchor.
Astounded by this display of skill, the schooner's first mate asked his skipper how he had managed
to navigate in such impossible conditions.
"Nothin' to it," the captain replied.  "I just took hold of the lighthouse beacon and followed her right
The first mate reminded him that the lighthouse guarding this harbor had collapsed and fallen into
the sea many years before.
"Makes no difference at all," insisted the aging mariner.  "I've been sailing these waters since
before you were born and I remember right where that lighthouse used to stand."
It seems that lighthouses, like people, can continue to guide, even when they're no longer with us -
gone from sight, but standing firm in our memories.  
-- "Lost Lighthouses" by Tim Harrison & Ray Jones
Steadfast, serene, immovable,
The same year after year,
Through all the silent nights,
May it burn forevermore -
That quenchless flame
In faithful guiding light.
Sail on, it says, sail on,
Ye stately ships;
And with your floating bridge
The ocean span; my task to wait -
Yours to bring man nearer unto man.
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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