Sunset this week over Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove, the oldest continuous operating lighthouse on the West Coast, 1855.
Lighthouses beckon and protect. Their lamps shine bright over the dark deep. Mid storm at sea, a lighthouse brings us safely to shore.
Robert Lewis Stevenson, whose own family were lighthouse builders in Scotland, spent several months in Monterey in 1880, waiting for his beloved Fanny to escape her scoundrel husband and meet him in California. (A huge scandal, led to many happy years together.)
Stevenson wrote articles for the local paper while he waited. In “The Old Pacific Capital” he describes the ocean and the day he walked all the way to Point Pinos Lighthouse:
“The one common note of all this country is the haunting presence of the ocean. A great faint sound of breakers follows you high up into the inland canons; the roar of water dwells in the clean, empty rooms of Monterey as in a shell upon the chimney; go where you will, you have but to pause and listen to hear the voice of the Pacific.
“One day — I shall never forget it — I had taken a trail that was new to me. After a while the woods began to open, the sea to sound nearer hand…. The Pacific booms in front. Westward is Point Pinos, with the lighthouse in a wilderness of sand, where you will find the lightkeeper playing the piano, making models and bows and arrows, studying dawn and sunrise in amateur oil-painting, and with a dozen other elegant pursuits and interests to surprise his brave, old-country rivals.
“To the east, and still nearer, you will come upon a space of open down, a hamlet, a haven among rocks, a world of surge and screaming sea-gulls…
“The whole woodland is begirt with thundering surges. The silence that immediately surrounds you where you stand is not so much broken as it is haunted by this distant, circling rumour. It sets your senses upon edge; you strain your attention; you are clearly and unusually conscious of small sounds near at hand; you walk listening like an Indian hunter; and that voice of the Pacific is a sort of disquieting company to you in your walk.”
(Come spend time with us at the Blue Theology Mission Station and we’ll visit the Lighthouse. Its beacon may give you hope as you wait for new life, and then it may give you a guiding light home. Bluetheology.com)