- Rose Island Lighthouse, Newport, Rhode Island
Gravity loves me. I know because it follows me everywhere.
I don’t know if my getting weak in the knees when I climb ladders means that the feeling’s mutual. I don’t think so.
All I know is that I was going to stay as far away from the trap door I’d just popped my head through as was possible in a 5′x5′ room.
I could feel gravity’s hands on my legs and I wasn’t going to let it pull me back down the ladder to the tower room I’d climbed for the second time in 24 hours. As long as I ignored the hole, it’s strength would wane.
That was my hope.
I’d come for an answer to a question and I needed to have a clear head to listen for an answer if there was going to be one. First I had to stop the chatter in my head that told me I was going to be sucked into and out of the tiny holes where the sea breeze was leaking in, and that I was going to be dashed to pieces on the rocks below just as a gull would a shell that he needed opened for dinner.
No sooner had I settled myself on one of the two stools and finished wrapping my bathrobe around me, that I had the thought, “look.”
So I looked out at gulls and ducks swimming in the still water of the Atlantic Ocean near the beach I’d run over as I raced to take a dip the day before.
“Look up a bit.”
Off shore and leading out to the harbor’s mouth were colored buoys bobbing and staring back at me.
“I won’t give you the answer you’re looking for. But I’ll give you direction. Just watch for buoys on your journey.”
I liked that answer. I was free to live my life, and to have adventures.
I was at peace and reassured that when I needed to know which way to go, there would be many good choices, and the only thing I’d ever really need was a warning if I was going toward a hidden danger- one that I might not be able to see while at ground level.
I made my way back down the ladder, carefully replacing the wrought iron door that seemed to weigh more than I did, struggling to stay balanced as I watched the daylight from the tower room grow dimmer.
I passed the alcove under the ladder where a desk with a typewriter sat next to a window with a chair tucked beneath it. I wondered about how many ships had passed by that window and about the persons who’d sat watching, pausing in the middle of a story, to enjoy the view.
How long had it been before someone had realized that the light from the tower wasn’t enough? and that the simple act of placing permanent markers over potentially dangerous rocks was needed?
So simple, and yet I’d had to go to higher ground to see it.