So What’s With All the Lighthouses?

I don’t remember when I saw my first lighthouse. What I do remember is this photo of the lighthouse in Evanston, IL that my father took.  He was a semi-professional photographer who took on photography jobs for extra income. This photo hangs in our living room today along with three others of my Dad’s.

Evanston, IL

Grosse Point Lighthouse 1873 Evanston, IL

My first impression of lighthouses was they are a public service. Maybe I was a keeper in another life time? Like a church, lighthouses offer a connection to those seeking refuge.

This past April, my wife and I travelled to Spain.  Of course, I planned an afternoon touring lighthouses along the Basque Coast, which included Santa Catalina in Lekeitio that I have posted as my blog’s header photo and another outside of San Sebastian that is included in my blog’s photo gallery. Given Basque history, these lighthouses exemplify persistence throughout troubled times.

When choosing a logo for my consulting business, U2Cando, I went with a photo of the Key West Lighthouse that I took from the veranda of Ernest Hemingway’s house [included in my photo gallery]. That’s what Ernest saw when he walked out on the veranda to his study.

My favorite lighthouse experience was staying in the Big Bay Point Lighthouse B&B along Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We would go to the top catwalk to read and for sunset.

Lighthouses have always been guides to that proverbial port in a storm. We certainly can use more guides in our current economic storms to light the way to safe harbors. But while they may light the way, you still need to chart your own course. Sometimes that is still challenging.

My most recent lighthouse visit was this August to Whitefish Point also in the UP. Located there was the Shipwreck Museum as testimony to those lost at sea in Lake Superior including the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  A museum plague quoted Dennis Hanson from the August 1987 Smithsonian:

“Clearly there is something special about lighthouses that goes far beyond their utilitarian purpose. They are… beacons of hope and homecoming. They stand for integrity and reliability.”

As we journey to improve our communities, I hope your voyage is a safe one, well lit and the wind is at your back.

Ted Wysocki, U2Cando

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald”


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