Oh, How We Mariners Love Lighthouses

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An ocean wave crashes against a lightouse, almost completely obscuring it.

I’m aware that lighthouses serve a practical purpose, where land and water collide, but symbolically, they offer a message of hope and determination when facing adversity.

An ocean wave crashes against a lightouse, almost completely obscuring it.
Wolf Rock Lighthouse, Lands End, Cornwall, after 1870, Gibson & Sons, Scilly. The Mariners’ Museum, P0001.012-01-PL281.

There are times when the ocean is not the ocean-not blue, not even water, but some violent explosion of energy and danger: ferocity on a scale only gods can summon. It hurls itself at the island, sending spray right over the top of the lighthouse, biting pieces off the cliff. And the sound is a roaring of a beast whose anger knows no limits. Those are the nights the light is needed most. ― M. L. Stedman

 

A wave is about to crash into a lighthouse.
Wolf Rock Lighthouse, Land’s End, Cornwall, after 1870, Gibson & Sons, Scilly. The Mariners’ Museum, P0001.012-01-PL279.

It’s because a lighthouse is two-faced, and this is how she feels each time she visits. A lighthouse is both an invitation and a warning. A lighthouse says Welcome home. But next to that, right after that, it also says Danger. ― Nathan Hill

 

 

Partial view of a sinking ship next to a lighthouse on a small outcropping.
Longships Lighthouse, Land’s End, Cornwall, 1898, Gibson & Sons, Scilly. The cargo ship Blue Jacket can be seen wrecked on the rocks. The Mariners’ Museum, P0001.012-01-PL294.

Knowing when and how to change course is important to success. Self-doubt is a lighthouse that will keep you from running aground. Don’t become shipwrecked on the rocks of time. Be willing to rethink your decisions and change course. ― Harley King

 

 

Distant view of a lighthouse on an island, surrounded by a low stone wall.
Godrevy Lighthouse, St. Ives Bay, Cornwall, 1922, Francis Frith & Co. The Mariners’ Museum, P0001.012-01-PL296.

 

Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.  Anne Lamott

 

 

 

Looking across a steep, rocky shoreline toward a lighthouse.
Pendeen Lighthouse, Cornwall, 1908, Francis Frith & Co. The Mariners’ Museum, P0001.012-01-PL295.

 

By spreading knowledge you can live forever. You can be the lighthouse that guides people to safety; a light in the darkest of times. ― Zachariah Renfro

 

 

View of a schooner docked near a small lighthouse.
Newlyn Lighthouse, Cornwall, 1920, Francis Frith & Co. The Mariners’ Museum, P0001.012-01-PL299.

Lighthouses are endlessly suggestive signifiers of both human isolation and our ultimate connectedness to each other. ― Virginia Woolf

 

 

 

 

Looking at the sidewalk approach to a lighthouse.
Godrevy Lighthouse, St. Ives Bay, Cornwall, 1890, Francis Frith & Co. The Mariners’ Museum, P0001.012-01-PL297.

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. ― Edith Wharton

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweeping view of a rocky shoreline with a lighthouse in the distance.
Lizard Lighthouse, Cornwall, 1904, Francis Frith & Co. The Mariners’ Museum, P0001.012-01-PL300.

Don’t stand in the shadows of the past move into the LIGHT of the future. ― Syed Sharukh

 

 

 

 

View of a lighthouse perched on a small outcropping.
Longships Lighthouse, Lands End, Cornwall, 1893, Francis Frith & Co. The Mariners’ Museum, P0001.012-01-PL292.

If you cannot change the course of a storm, be the lighthouse. ― Ronn Daigle

 

 

 

 

These photographs of British lighthouses were purchased for The Mariners’ Museum Collection in 1936 from Bertram M. Chambers, an admiral in the Royal Navy.

Francis Frith took up photography in the early 1850s and was one of the first to photograph in Egypt and the Middle East. He maintained a successful business throughout his life.

Gibson & Sons are best remembered for their photography of shipwrecks along the British coastline in the mid to late 19th century .

Sources:

Daigle, Ronn. Accessed November 24, 2020, https://daysofhere.com/post/136457759727/if-you-cannot-change-the-course-of-a-storm-be

Hill, Nathan. (2016). “The Nix,” New York, NY: Penguin Random House LLC.

King, Harley. Accessed November 24, 2020, https://www.theartofresonance.co.uk/2019/03/01/overcoming-negative-thinking-2/

Lamott, Anne. (1994). “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life,” New York, NY: Pantheon Books.

Renfro, Zachariah. Accessed November 25, 2020, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag?id=knowledge+&page=35&utf8=%E2%9C%93

Sharukh, Syed. Accessed November 23, 2020, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/9977900-don-t-stand-in-the-shadows-of-the-past-move-into

Stedman, M. (2012). “The Light Between Oceans,” New York, NY: Random House Australia.

Wharton, Edith. Accessed November 24, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/quotes/2406/

Wolff, Virginia. Accessed November 24, 2020, https://medium.com/shutter-release/lighthouses-hold-a-symbolic-place-in-our-collective-psyche-1d03d03f7749

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