The Lighthouse Winked At Me

You know, I nearly didn’t go.

Last night, I’d decided to wake up early and walk out to the lighthouse before breakfast. Then I woke to low cloud, clinging mizzle, and the remnants of last night’s rain dripping off the trees. There went any chance of photo ops.

But that’s not why I walk. Anyway, as the old maxim goes: there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

So I packed up. Water bottle, coffee thermos, protein bars, a jacket. Good to go.

Stepping out the front door, my fully-charged phone crashed. I restarted it, dashed back upstairs, grabbed my power bank in its ziplock bag, and set off again.

Two minutes down the road, my phone crashed again. Worse — the power bank had the wrong cable, so I couldn’t even plug it in. Okay. Take a breath and think it through. Not only did I have no camera, I now had: no GPS, no clock, no communication device in case of an emergency.

Stuff it. It was a popular track, it was close to town, we weren’t exactly in the wops here. It was maybe a three-hour round trip, and there were options for cutting it short if I needed to. Let’s go.

Thirty minutes later, walking down the slope of the cemetery to join the coastal track, I saw something that made it all worth it. Far down the coast ahead of me, high above ocean spray and ground mist, the lighthouse winked at me. One white flash in the darkness of a clouded sky. Then nothing, while I held my breath and counted.

Eight… nine… ten and flash.

The steady wink of Tuhawaiki / Jack’s Point lighthouse welcomed me and urged me onwards.

In the clinging mist and low cloud, I couldn’t see far. I didn’t have GPS navigation or a step-by-step instruction guide. I didn’t need it. All I had to do was trust the journey, fix my eyes on that one light on the horizon, and walk.

As the track dipped and curved, the wink of white light was soon hidden in the folds of the land. It would peep out now and again, piercing high above the estuary mists, and then vanish behind some dark jut of rising hill. I saw it clearer as I grew closer. But then, as I dropped down into the sweeping bay before climbing the final hill, it stopped. Completely.

I kept walking, stride steady, up the slope to rise above the last of the sea mist. The lack of a guiding light didn’t matter when I was so close. I knew my destination was there.

I saw the lighthouse itself before I saw the light again. Sure enough, it was still there, winking out to sea, steady as ever in that ten-second flare. I’d missed it because of the angle of my approach.

It would have been easy to not go. But you know what? It was a great walk after all. I’m grateful I went.

Sitting out there with my hot coffee, the white flare of the lighthouse blinking above me, listening to the rumble and roll of the surf, and watching the sun shafting down through low cloud right at the edge of the horizon…

Of such things is life made.

%d bloggers like this: