Friday, January 9, 2009
A Beckoning Beacon
Greetings from the Atlantic coast in Florida near Ponce Inlet where this 1887 lighthouse -- Florida's tallest -- guards the entrance from ocean to the Halifax River. The imposing tower, second highest brick lighthouse in the U.S. (only the Cape Hatteras lighthouse is taller), stands stately guard over the tricky inlet. While no longer operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, it still functions as a "private" lighthouse, lovingly restored and maintained by a non-profit foundation that has even restored the 1933 first-order Fresnel-lens light. On such a beautiful day as yesterday when I visited the handsome structure, it stood out for its rich brick-red color against a flawless blue sky. No, I did not climb to the top for a lighthouse keeper's view of the surrounding waters, but stood humbled beneath it with respect for its architect, masons and the generous people who restored it and the mryiad lenses and prisms in its lamp. Sometimes mankind gets things right. The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is one of our more admirable achievements.