I woke up here for the first time five years ago this morning. I was trying to figure out how many nights have found me somewhere else since, and arrived at a number less than ten. I think that means I like it here.
While I have a way to go before I trump John Cushman who spent part of 34 years here, or catch up with Ruth Downton who was here for 23 years, I have made a dent in my quest to be the Cal Ripken of the Light.
The upside has been profound. Haley has met people from all over the world. We had a group of students from The American Field Service program visit here in September. One minute she was treating it like just another tour, the next minute she was walking the jetty, taking pictures, and asking me to find out how she could be part of it. We had Commander Kasper Modhaddam and his wife Janine visit with their girls all the way from Japan in December. A young man living in Alaska found his way all the way here to propose to his girl. Spin the globe and I can tell a story of a guest. That has been a great gift.
We have had Governor Patrick here, and Senator Warren. Congressman Lynch visited after a storm. Groups from France have come each summer and Fred Freitas came with a big group from the big state of Texas. When I was telling the French exchange about the blog and the web cams this past summer, a young man told me he had already been on routinely and that I could expect more traffic from the French countryside when he got home.
We have had this guy here:
And this guy:
And gifts like these:
from a student, Nick Staples, and this sculpture that was built by a neighbor and shared with all the visitors
and from Jessica Maguire's Peggotty Prints (whose blog is a must read for everyone of every age) the longitude and latitude of the Lighthouse in a beautiful print.
There have been storms of all makes and models. There have been gardens of flowers and gardens of vegetables and lots of weeding and watering. The utility room has been rebuilt perfectly by our friend Chuck of Vareika Construction. If you are reading this Chuck, we enjoy that room every day and think of you. The bathroom has been remodeled once and painted twice. We lost a ceiling a year ago when pipes froze upstairs and that was repaired beautifully by John Hallin. Tom Galligan and his crew showed up here in the dead of winter and got the heat running last year. It was 22 degrees in the kitchen at the time. Sean Harris got a vendor to contribute a new heating system. Bob Snow put on storm windows; Ken Litchfield rebuilt the access to the cellar, along with a new runway door. Nate Baker painted the exterior. Charlie Wood rewired the utility room like a master artist. Jerry Houghton has been on call for each time the Light has gone out. Jerry also provided the switch for the generator we hope we never have to use and all the plugs it takes to set up a modern office in a 202 year old Cottage. My brother in Law John Coscia took himself up on the roof to patch up a few leaks around the chimney. A wonderful group of students have painted the fence each year. Research showed me a first floor with different colors and those have been restored to the main cottage. The research binders stand at 9 inches wide. Google tells me that nearly this blog has been visited nearly 90,000 different times. All of this stuff adds up.
I had thought to count all the photographs we have taken but decided against it. I am not sure if I want to know. Sunrises, sunsets, Luminaria, wildlife, construction, destruction, old friends and new, there is rarely a moment that you could not find reason to take a snap shot or hold a pose. One of the surprises of the past five years is the staggering number of people who come here to paint, to photograph, to draw, to pray, to walk, to run, to meditate, to stretch, to fish, to swim, to workout, to court, to argue, to marry, to eat, to drink, to smoke, to park, and to trespass. The numbers would boggle the mind. I am working on a plan to cut down the trespassers though. I am posting a big sign that instructs would be wanderers that if they weren't here to shovel in the winter then they should not be in the driveway or yard in the summer.
So as we kick off year six watching people navigate their way over the ice and snow on the walkway, I will hand off a video of the day. The sun is high. The temperature continues to knock us back. The wind you will hear. We are still glad to be here. We are still trying to earn it. I can't deny that there isn't an element of grief from time to time, but the blanket is warmer than a few frayed ends could ever touch.
Thanks to all who feel for this place the way we do.