Like usual, when it’s nice outside, I go for a walk or a jog. Today, I was on a roll. I walked 5.07 miles and I loved every minute of it out in the sun and the fresh air. And as usual, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, Lore. The episode I found most fascinating today was about folklore surrounding lighthouses.
I found this particularly interesting. I don’t have many memories of family vacations that don’t involve traveling to the Upper Peninsula and checking out the coast. I have always liked the lighthouses the best. That is an interest that my mom and I share. The master bathroom in their house is decorated in lighthouse decor.
I remember a trip to climb a lighthouse as a teenager. I have pictures with my parents along the trail, and I remember thinking that those trendy Adidas sandals with the little plastic “knobby” things inside were the most uncomfortable walking shoes ever.
The episode I listened to today focused on the lighthouses and lore surrounding Maine’s coast, and I was honestly surprised to learn that Maine has more miles of coast than California. While Aaron Mahnke was discussing the legends, my mind wandered. I began thinking about the last time I saw a Michigan lighthouse.
The last time I saw a Michigan lighthouse was in the summer of 2010. I had just completed graduate school, I quit a job that was horrific, and I had been gloriously dumped (via text message). So I was school-less, jobless, and boyfriend-less. I spent my days as productively as possible. I applied for jobs all over Michigan, and I began thinking about moving out-of-state. I cried when I submitted an application in Virginia. I hated the thought of leaving everything that was familiar.
And when I wasn’t in front of my computer, I was outside walking. I was helping my mom train for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day. I wanted to walk with her, but the job situation kept me from registering.
So when I was offered a chance to go on a vacation with my family, I only had one answer. “Of course!”
We went away for a few days up north. In Michigan, “up north” is any place that is north of Saginaw.
I remember walking in Mackinaw City and taking pictures of everything that I saw, as per usual.
I snapped away and took photos of the Old Mackinaw Point Lighthouse.
It is one of the most beautiful buildings that I have ever seen. I have always admired it and what is stands for. I find Great Lakes legends and lore fascinating. The Great Lakes are their own mystery and every inch of those bodies of water have stories to tell.
When I think of lighthouses, I think of that vacation.
As soon as I got home, I swallowed my pride and called on a job that I was offered but had been reluctant to accept. I didn’t want to go back to being a medical secretary. I was supposed to be a teacher. But what I didn’t count on was having a hard time finding a full-time teaching position. “Other” people had problems finding jobs after grad school, but I was going to be just fine.
I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
It looked like I was in the same boat as other fresh graduates that wanted to be teachers. I had some adjuncting to do.
But in the meantime, I needed a full-time job so off to be a medical secretary again. And it was a good decision.
I met one of the best friends that a woman could ever have, and the job gave me the footing that I needed to enable myself to buy my first house.
Good things came my way after my last visit to the lighthouse.
According to the National Park Service, the first lighthouse in the United States, Boston Light, was constructed in 1716. I can’t begin to imagine how important this beacon has been to seafarers throughout the centuries.
My lighthouse is 173 years younger than the oldest lighthouse in the country. It is rich in history, but in my own history, it is indicative of a turning point.
Last summer, I wrote a poem called “The Sound of Water” and it was inspired by Hopper’s The Lighthouse at Two Lights. Lighthouses inspire my art as much as they have done their job for me.
And lighthouses are beautiful, mysterious, and they are full of stories. They have purpose.
In short, my life goal is to be a human lighthouse.
I need to go back, and I need to go back soon. I should stand in the same spot and tell my story, if only to my notebook. I’m no longer school-less. In fact, I teach full-time now. I am not jobless. And boyfriend? Ha! I married my perfect match.
I found my light and I followed it. I didn’t run aground.
I didn’t sink.