I marvelled at the windows reflecting the sunlight and thanked my lucky stars it wasn’t my job to keep them clean. I liked the solitude out here, the wind and the water, the birds and the peace. I could see myself out here, reading, and working. But not as a lighthouse keeper or the wife of one.
And it wasn’t just the thought if cleaning all those windows either. It was the exceedingly limited space. The climb up all those stairs and down and the careful planning to get supplies.
The job itself wasn’t exactly ideal either, before electricity the fires had to be maintained so the light was constantly visible and then you also had to peer out into the inky blackness we’ve long-lost thanks to electricity. You were responsible for keeping watch for the ships after all. So night work, but work still to be done during the day too, such as keeping those windows clean and ensuring you had enough fuel for keeping the light going.
the guide said that the last people to live here and run the lighthouse had a large garden to grown their own vegetables and a few chickens to help with the food situation. Of course they had access to all the seafood they wanted provided they caught it. And I guess you’d be busy enough to complain about the food.
So really what I wanted was to be a guest, basically to rent the lighthouse since it was no longer working. Just to enjoy the peace and the delights nature had to offer, while still having a lovely shelter with an excellent view. Beloved wasn’t one for all those stairs and pointed out that on a bad day neither would I be. He also reminded me that the chance of hot sunshine filled days without a cloud n the sky would be low since we were up against the ocean. And lastly he informed me that he couldn’t fish any more than I could. Plus they didn’t rent out the lighthouse.
People used to do, much like they do now, whatever it took to survive. Whatever job was available and tested themselves against it all. Reading some of the journals it’s obvious that one of the hardest things the people at the lighthouse had to deal with was the solitude and loneliness. It was probably magnified by having to work in such dark conditions. Surely then you felt like you truly were at the end of the world, on your own.
The trip to this lighthouse was illuminating not just because of the lighthouse but because it reminded me of how utterly alone a person can still feel in the world when cut off from society. It also reminded me that while I enjoy my solitude I’m far too caught up in things that require people to make it. And I hate doing windows!😉