The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

04 January 2017

The invitation of raindrops.

Little elves I cannot see are playing double dutch outside my window. Their footprints dance in the puddles as it rains.


In the hotel across the square from me a little light burns. It warms a solitary room as all the others are dark or curtained against this grey and misty day. The keeper of that light is a kindred spirit, for it is days like today that I like to watch, too. Rain or snow, mist or fog, draw me to sit in the window to think of deep thoughts or of nothing at all.

On days like today, fairy tales are born.

14 December 2016

Of clumsy birds and line dancing pigeons.

There is a line of pigeons dancing in the square.  Line dancing birds! They step quickly, left and right, shrugging shoulders to fluff their feathers. They slalom between clumps of snow that punctuate the cobblestones before breaking formation, scattering to dance their own choreography.

The next time I see them, they are in a line once more, this time on a roof ledge looking down on us. I watch one turn in circles, tapping his beak at something that must be food. Two others strut away, heads rocking forward and back with each step. They trade places and I wonder, was it planned? Did I miss the signal? It's fun to watch them lean into a fall over the ledge, then catch a current to sail down to the ground.

Are there clumsy birds? Is there one in the flock that fumbles for the branch as he attempts a landing or misjudges the distance to a wire? (Does he get teased for being the goof of the group?) Do they ever clip the wings of another bird in flight, or misunderstand directions only to wait alone in the park by the beach while the rest of the gang is feasting in the parking lot of the Beach Street Mall?

I would feel better about myself when I manage to catch the pocket of my sweater on a door knob (for the second time this morning) if I knew there were clumsy birds.

05 November 2016

Of Madeline and the lighthouse keeper

Peter LaRoche was a cranky, crabby man. He rarely said a word to anyone, which was probably a good thing because his words would likely not have been kind. 
He manned the light on a slender spit of land where harbour met the sea, and he took that work very seriously. He was meticulous in the completion of his duties. He never squandered time or money. He was methodical and precise in all things. And he was lonely. 
People in town assumed Peter was alone by choice, and cranky by nature. They never thought to listen to his story to find out where he was from or if his heart was whole. Instead, when he entered the store to carefully select his meagre rations, the women doing their own shopping would fall silent around him. The same scene would play out in the hardware store when he’d stock up on nails and kerosene. This would happen week after week. He would row away from the solitude of his lighthouse to endure the silence of aloof townsfolk. 
Until Madeline came. She was hired to take over the public library after old Mr. Robson retired. 
Madeline Smith, librarian, was going to change Rose Passage, but no one would ever expect it from the look of her.  She seemed perfectly librarian-like: quiet, organized, mostly plain, and helpful. If you looked closely, though, you would note a mischievous dimple in her cheek and a glint of red in her hair – and most tellingly of all, she wore purple-framed glasses. 
Miss Smith and Mr LaRoche first crossed paths at Stella’s – a home-style restaurant with rooms to let overhead. Peter was sitting alone for his one-meal-out-a-month that was all he allowed himself. Madeline helped herself to the seat opposite him, and with chin in hand, she twinkled at him, and proceeded to talk his ear off. (She was quiet, yet, but knew how to tell a story.) Other diners fully expected Mr LaRoche to scowl or even stomp out, but to their surprise he merely watched her and ate his meal. He didn’t say a word to her but that didn’t stop Madeline from continuing to talk to him whenever she met him at the grocer’s, or passed him in the street. 
The news was quickly shared from neighbour to neighbour the day Mr LaRoche was seen to actually speak to Miss Madeline. They were eating ices under a tree in the square, Madeline idly kicking her legs, watching the clouds while the man talked. What anyone would have given to know what was said!
Gradually, one brave soul after another would extend the lightkeeper a greeting, or offer some remark about the weather, to which Mr LaRoche would respond with a nod and a smile. More and more people registered for library cards with the desire to discover what powers Miss Smith may have, to make the mute speak and the cranky smile. Instead of magic, they discovered Madeline’s natural friendliness and kindness. Somehow they found themselves joining garden clubs and bridge parties with people they never would have spared a thought for before Madeline set them in each other’s path.
Many librarians have a gift for matching a reader to a book, but Madeline’s particular knack was for putting people together. Rose Passage became a town of friendship where not one soul was overlooked or forgotten, for Madeline saw how the quirks and corners in each person would work with those in another.
As for Mr LaRoche? Well, Madeline showed him how his quirks and corners were perfectly suited to hers. Not three months after that day under the tree he asked for her hand in marriage. She twinkled at him, and said yes, of course.

21 June 2016

In which we meet a dragonfly named Ruth

Deep in the woods where sunlight falls in leaf-shaped puddles, there runs a stream over pebbles and rocks. It tumbles over ledges in shallow waterfalls, and lends a joyful soundtrack to life in this hidden glen. To eyes that can see such things, there are signs of activity everywhere. Cleverly arranged stones and branches in the stream hint at little feet crossing the water from one bank to the other. Tidy piles of acorns alongside clusters of mushrooms and branches of dandelions tell a story of bustling, pint-sized morning markets, while toadstools under daisy umbrellas paint a picture of friends sharing lazy cups of tea and the latest news.

Most big people are too busy to notice these signs. Truth be told, few big people even trouble to visit this little village in the woods anymore. It’s too bad, because they are missing something wonderful. Believing in the impossible keeps you young, you see, for without wonder and magic in your life you can’t help but grow old.

It is a truth in life that a sad thing can also be a happy thing; and so, while it is sad that big people are unable to see what you and I know exists on the banks of the stream, for our little village in the woods it is also a good thing, for friends are able to meet under the daisies without fear of being discovered and turned into a day-trip attraction for the bored and curious.

Every village is like a tiny galaxy, with one star around which all the rest travel. The centre star of  galaxy is seldom the brightest or the largest, and the same is true of centre people. They hardly ever look like someone who is capable of keeping everyone else on track in their own orbits, but there is something about them, some deep magnetic pull that they aren't aware they have. They are the kind of person others always come to talk to about their troubles, ask advice of, rely on to fix problems, and trust will know how to solve dilemmas. In our village in the glen, that centre star is a dragonfly named Ruth.

30 May 2016

Bite sized resolve

Ok.  Who am I kidding?  The evidence lies before us in these very pages... I am not a regular contributor to the blogosphere.

Let's make a pact between us, you and me, that as comfortable friends we can pick up where we left off each time we meet as if in the middle of a long-running conversation.

And with that, let us resume,  midstream:

My quiet little corner of the world is no longer so quiet. There are large diggers and earth movers and other big and noisy machines across the road, turning a bucolic empty field into a subdivision. When I got back from holiday a few days ago, I noticed a sign a little further down the road that another empty lot is being turned into more homes.

Part of me longs for peace and isolation. That's a futile dream, isn't it?  Where can you go these days that hasn't been disrupted or is under development?  Progress! Or so they call it.  Where oh where is my lighthouse? I'd be happy to sit at a window overlooking the ocean, and feel the sturdy stones of the structure brace against the storm blowing in.

The Lighthouse is as much a state of mind as it is a longed-for place, so while I'd like to run from the world to seek out my solitude, I'm going to work on writing every day, no matter what else is going on around me.  I've realized that I've neglected the basics (being practice, discipline, and study) hoping that desire and some ability will make it all happen.

Therefore, I hereby resolve that I am going to begin with small steps:
- words on paper, daily
- find some way, either virtually or in real life, to learn and grow as a writer.

Manageable. Bite-sized, even.

Let it begin!

16 May 2016

The chase.

A shadow of shadows slips over the shrub outside the window like a blanket dragged over an unmade bed. It is a reflection of the cloud overhead that chases the sun across the sky.

09 May 2016

A note to Araby

To the very kind person who has been leaving comments throughout The Lighthouse ... in Arabic:

Thank you. I'm so glad you're spending time here, and it's so good of you to take the time to share your thoughts. I can't help but think, though, that as you've at least seen (if not actually read) eight or so posts here, you must have realized that I don't write in Arabic, but am, in fact, English (Dutchlish at a stretch). I've run your comments through Google translate but still can't make sense of it, so I wonder if you might be better off spending your time in another way?

Again, thank you. I wish you well... and somewhere else.