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Day 161 – March 17, 2012

“Fairy Dust, Fisheyes and Forecasts – Part 2″

A surprising number of volunteers arrived on island yesterday afternoon to paint the Tower green, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s only a “wash”, so it won’t last long, but fun nonetheless.  It should be noted that being the most northeastern island lighthouse in the US, there’s probably only a dozen people or so that are closer to Ireland than I am.  As such, I felt it was appropriate to start this day, on this magical island, with a proper bowl of Lucky Charms.  I also want to thank my special friend Epona, for sending me a little green leprechaun, which brings luck to the desk at which I write.  May the luck be hers.






As yesterday grew older, the day grew warmer, and the snow began to systematically collapse under its own weight, reminding me of the life cycle of the grand oak tree, and most of the human empires throughout the course of history.  Ultimately, they simply cannot support themselves.

The island is always hushed, save for the every-ten-second, contemplative and measured moan of the foghorn, the Christmas-like clang of the fire-red buoy bell that stands stalwart, a quarter of a mile east of my front yard, the intermittent cackled calling of the indigo island crows, and the brushing of the branches and creaking of great fir trunks that have lain against one another in this crowded, cramped and storied forest, one relying on the other, to remain pointing skyward, seemingly seeking to desperately eek out a few more days, months, or years as a standing tree.



Today the trees do not move.  Stilled by the weight of heavy snow they stand stiller.  The branches do not swish and sway but hang motionless.  The heavy island blanket absorbs what little sound there is, and what sounds remain become louder, and more pronounced.  The chittering tika-tika-tika of a small red squirrel, agitated by my passing, is outdone only by the unseen and startling flutter of wings, so large and close I swear I can feel them.  A quail perhaps.  The snow begins to compress with every step of my boots; a rubbing, packing sound, noticeably amplified by the hollow that lies below the crossboards of the catwalk.








Entering the tower I make my way up the 33 iron steps, clinging barehanded to a stiffly cold railing as my neos overshoes have metal cleats on the bottom – good for ice, but potentially treacherous for steep and twisted metal stairs.  Reaching the room just below the one that holds the lens I am gently struck by the sight of the northeast porthole that has been packed by the wind with snow and ice, wave-like in its settling, partly making its way through the outer of the two panes.






Venturing outside onto the gallery ring it is windy, icy and slick and despite the wrought-iron railing I am thinking twice.  Three times.  About to turn back I see that one of the thick glass windows that this light shines through is caked with thick and crusty white.  Knowing that as Keeper it is my responsibility to clear it, taking guarded steps I make my way around the circle, pressing my body close to the structure, and free the glass of its oppression.  It is not lost on me the conditions far worse that Keepers of the past overcame, clearing the glass of ice and snow.  I am reminded of a framed print in the Keepers House kitchen of a December 30th, 1876 cover of Harper’s Weekly (“The Journal of Civilization”), entitled “Christmas In A Lighthouse”, depicting the often harrowing duties of yesteryear’s Keepers.  Here’s a shot of the Tower window from the bedroom upstairs, and a shot of the Harper’s magazine cover…







These are two shots looking down over the catwalk, and out towards Western Head…







Wanting one last look at the harbor, a misty rain begins to fall.  Passing the Oil House I spy just the right angle that makes the foreground hanging and snow-laden branch of a fir look like a wig atop its roof…



The Boathouse doors are snowed and the view of Cutler Village brings to mind a Currier & Ives print my Nanny might have had…








Returning to the Keepers House, the tandem Adirondack chair remains on its back, locked in decision, a consensus shared only by lovers…







March 14-16, 2012.  Little River Island.  Little River Lighthouse.  Good Enuf.

(All rights reserved.)


15 Responses to “Day 161 – March 17, 2012”

  1. Tim Harrison says:

    GREAT POST – well written and with fabulous photos.
    The wig of the oil house and harbor town and others are all excellent photos
    I love the cute mention to eating Lucky Charms for breakfast, especially it being St. Patty’s Day.
    I hope there are “enuff” people sober enough to read this post. Keep ‘em coming.
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day

  2. Bill Kitchen says:

    thanks so much. worked all day on it. Happy St. Pats to you too. and thanks for all you two do.

  3. Joe Dowling says:

    I am glad to see you are enjoying the “Snow”! There is none in Bangor! When you got the last blast, we got just a dusting. Just a thought. I routinely travel to East Machias from Bangor. If there is ever anything you need from Bangor, drop me an email and I’ll see what I can do to help out.

  4. Dave Corbett says:

    Another great post. You hit the nail right on the head when you wrote of the perils the keepers past. Glad to see you “went green” for St. Patty’s day. Hope the “wee people” didn’t eat you out of supplies. They must be easy to spot with all that white snow.

  5. Cheryl Crigger says:

    Love the “catwalk” & “Cutler & Ives” pics, perfect name for that of Cutler! I love views from the top of a lighthouse & pictures save those views.
    I hope to be able to get to Cutler some day. I know it won’t be this year, but I’m hoping I can make it to Maine next year. I do realize you probably won’t be there for your endeavor then, but trying to see as many lighthouses of New England, along with the Outerbanks, as I can before I get any older, is a dream vacation for me. Some people have dreams of going to Europe or someplace like that, but not me!
    May God continue to be with you.

  6. Arthur says:

    And your same volunteers did there work at Portland Head.

  7. Billy – super post!
    Your descriptives are superb … pictures are beautiful! The island looks absolutely enchanting. Nice job. Happy Spring! :)

  8. Epona says:

    Oh yes and how many other lighthouses did the special wee folks paint on St. Patty’s.

    Of course I am waiting to see what Priscilla the Passover Bunny and Peter the Easter Bunny come up with. I have been told they just might be planning something.

  9. Billy – super post!
    Your descriptives are superb – pictures are beautiful!
    The island looks absolutely enchanting.
    Nice job – Happy Spring! :)

  10. Anne McGhie says:

    Thank you for artfully capturing the exquisite beauty of this place. It is a wonderful legacy of your time here.

  11. Seamond says:

    The snow made the oil house elfin in looks – so pretty. I love the cover on Harper’s – in all my lighthouse literature over the years I’ve seen (lots acquired) I never saw that one before. Stay safe and stay safety conscious, Bill.


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