The long, winding dirt road had an unfamiliar red tint. (For those reading this from “away”, this island has red dirt. Even in the bleakness of winter, the palette of white, brown, and red is beautiful.) I wasn’t used to it as most places I’ve lived in have dirt that is absolutely the most boring brown you could imagine. You all know what I’m talking about. I loved that this was my new normal. As I stepped out of my car, I could tell I was one of only a handful of people on that patch of land outside the city. You could almost smell the seclusion. I stared up a the tall structure I would call home for the winter, and I had to pinch myself at the total uniqueness of my adventure.
I live in a lighthouse. Yes, a lighthouse. To be clear, it is not a functional lighthouse. It was built as a church in the form of a lighthouse and was converted to a spectacularly amazing cottage. (My fiancé worked on repurposing/restoring the lighthouse. Dang, I’m a lucky girl.) And by some sheer twist of fate, I landed the gig of lighthouse keeper for the winter. And this is my tale.
A harsh whistle invaded my sleep as the wind hissed through the siding and the rain pummelled the window just above my head. Nothing could have prepared me for the clangorous experience of a windy, stormy night in a lighthouse. For those that know me, you know that I don’t actually like living alone. I lived with family/roommates for the first 26 years of my life so I was used to having people around. When I lived in Arizona, I lived in a city so there was always something happening. In this adventure, I found myself living in a 5 story tower in the middle of nowhere on an ACTUAL ISLAND. I felt like an extrovert conducting an experiment in seclusion. I knew it wasn’t forever, but I also wasn’t sure just how crazy I would go out here. The surprises were what kept me sane.
I didn’t think it was possible for a place to be both uproariously loud and utterly tranquil at the same time. The paradox between the loudness of the wind bouncing off the trees and the stillness of the water made me smile.
I’ve never been a sunrise person. I honestly hate almost everything about early mornings. I hate getting out of bed, waking up, touching the cold floor with my bare feet, just all of it. The lighthouse gave me a rare opportunity. Unknowingly, I would leave my blinds slightly cracked as I went to bed each night. The sun would creep in during the wee hours of the morning and instead of waking up cranky and annoyed as I am prone to do, my eyes would open and I would smile. The smile came so naturally it made me laugh out loud. Sometimes I would just sit and stare at the pink and purple hues floating across the water, and other times I would get up to snap a photo. What a gift those sunrises have been as a way to appreciate beauty and a reminder to be thankful.
Now, before you start congratulating me on making the shift into being a nauseatingly productive morning person, just know that after appreciating the majesty of the sunrise, I would almost always go back to sleep.
The final way that I have fully been spoiled by lighthouse life, is the window seats. I’ve always dreamed of living in a house with a window seat. This winter, I got three. Three beautiful vantage points, three slightly different points of view, three seats of inspiration. It was here that I took in all the amazing changes that happened in my life this year; moving back to my home country, getting engaged, welcoming two nieces into the world, planning a wedding, celebrating both my parents in their retirement, starting a new job. I am overwhelmed and I am thankful.
If you ever get the chance to live in a lighthouse, it’s something I would highly recommend.