Ever hear someone say, “I don’t like lighthouses”? I haven’t. In fact, quite the contrary. I have friends who obsessively collect miniature lighthouses, and friends who’ve made what can only be called pilgrimages to various places both here and abroad, just to see these monolithic structures by the sea.
The symbolism of the lighthouse touches our emotional heartstrings in numerous ways. They offer guidance and hope. They are beacons of safety, power and authority, yet their isolated and mysterious nature often makes them a setting for thriller books and movies.
The Guiding Light, a soap opera I watched for 54 years (until the end of its run in 2009) had a lighthouse in the fictional town of Springfield as a backdrop for many spooky and/or emotional and even mystical episodes.
Lighthouses have been used as symbols of national achievement, dependability under duress, hope, and even religious faith—the beacon serving as a metaphor of guidance in a spiritual quest. Lighthouses all inspire an affinity for the special places created at the meeting point of water and earth.
There are many books dedicated solely to lighthouses, and even my first book, “Through My Looking Glass, the View from the Beach,” features a rendering of our own North Head Lighthouse on the cover. When I see this particular structure, in paintings, on postcards, or even in stained glass, there is a sense of place. And for me, it means home.