Miniature lighthouses sit on many lawns in Cow Bay, keeping watch over seas of green. Whether they’re adorned with flowers or serve as resting places for birds, they’re decorative reminders of our connection to the ocean and that which is best of our collective humanity.
Ben Franklin may have been onto something when he said that lighthouses were more helpful than churches. For thousands of years, these structures have assisted ships in safely navigating hazardous waters. One can only imagine how many shipwrecks have been prevented by these beacons of light over the ages. The lighthouse of Alexandria, erected on the island of Pharos off the coast of Egypt in the third century B.C., was so tall and spectacular that it was considered one of the seven ancient wonders of the world.
Symbols of public good, before the introduction of technology-driven navigational aids aboard ships, lighthouses promised safe passage to anyone at sea, regardless of their vessel’s country of origin. They charged no toll and existed only to guide souls at sea away from danger.
Today, many lighthouses, such as the one on nearby Devil’s Island, have fallen into disrepair and have had their lights removed. New navigational technologies may have made their initial function obsolete, but whether large or small, lighthouses are still charming representations of man’s service to man.
Photo credits: Jeremiah Bell