There she blows

We’ve noticed that mornings here tend to be warm, humid, and still. They are perfect for reading and sipping coffee on the front porch in the sun. The winds often pick up during the afternoon and sometimes bring in some threatening rain clouds or fog.

Today was probably the windiest day we’ve had since arriving on the island two weeks ago. We had sustained winds of 5-10mph with gusts reaching 20mph this morning. Despite the windy conditions, Matt was able to finish the last of the raking of the upper lawns by the lighthouse and the grounds are now in great shape for this weekend’s visitors. We had some friends arrive on their sailboat just before dinner and they said that while there were warnings of hail and choppy seas, the actual conditions weren’t nearly as hazardous.

Daily Weather Report

Temperature:  67.8/55.9
Mostly cloudy skies
Wind: S 20.6mph
High Tide: 5:34am/6:14pm
Low Tide: 11:56am

Wedding/weeding

Today we had a 13 visitors to the island, all part of a wedding party. Seeing the island teeming with people was a welcome taste of the excitement the summer promises to bring, and hearing their impressions of Seguin and the beautiful Maine Seacoast was yet another reminder of how lucky we are to live here. 

For the majority of the day we continued our  efforts mowing, weed whacking, and raking. It’s hot and sweaty work, and we’re pretty itchy by the day’s end, but we’ve also felt some pride in providing our visitors the opportunity to hike along the edges of the island and grateful to help create new memories of Seguin. 

Daily Weather Report 
Temp: High 67.8° Low 54.3°
Sky: Mostly clear with morning fog
Wind: SW max speed 17.2 mph 
High Tide: 4:29am / 4:13pm 
Low Tide: 11:54am / 11:16pm 

A place of rituals

Rituals have always had a place at Seguin. In her memoir The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife, Connie Scovill Small, the (you guessed it) wife of Seguin Lighthouse keeper Elson Small (1926-1930), describes life on this remote island as “a life of order and duty”. She fondly describes the ritual of ironing the cover for the expensive and fragile Frensel lens and the joy she found in being such an integral part of the lighting of the lamps every evening and extinguishing them every morning at dawn.

Now, the light is automated, so rituals are found elsewhere.

Today, we had a group of four visitors whose family had been in the area for seven generations. The two adult children in the group had been coming to Seguin nearly every year since they were very young. It was clear from the moment they crested the hill that they were so happy to be back and enjoying this family ritual of climbing the tower and exploring the trails once again.

After almost two weeks on the island, we’ve started our own rituals. We prepare our coffee the night before so we can wake up with the sunrise and have our coffee ready. We sip it as we take Tulah and Zorro outside for the first time for the day while we raise the flag. Later, we add water to the large cistern in the basement through a coordinated series of steps that pump water up from the well. We turn on the hot water heater in the mornings and shut it off just before we shower to conserve power overnight. We play cribbage over dinner and end each day reading and drinking hot chocolate.

While our rituals differ quite drastically from those of the lighthouse keepers who were stationed here prior to the automation of the light, they have allowed us to fall into our own patterns and rhythms that shape our days here on Seguin.

Daily Weather Report
Temperature: 66.7/53.2
Sunny skies
Wind W 9.2mph

Radio Check, Seguin Island Light

Welcome to the Seguin Island Lighthouse blog! We’re Matt and Maureen, the 2024 caretakers. If you come visit the island this year, you’re almost certain to meet us, and our two dogs, Zorro and Tulah, as we’ll be calling Seguin home through mid-September.

We arrived on the island on June 1st, and after a week of mowing hip-high grass and weed whacking impassible trails, we’re nearly prepared for the busy summer season to begin! The museum is open, and we’ve been brushing up on Seguin history so we’re ready to give tours to the visitors to the island.

We can’t wait to share more about life and weather on the island and our experience as caretakers this summer!

Summary of Week 1

Saturday, June 1: Opening day, 8 FOSILS members, 0 visitors; Sunny & mid-70s

Sunday, June 2: 6 visitors, Sunny & mid-70s

Monday, June 3: 0 visitors, Sunny, breezy, low-70s

Tuesday, June 4: 1 visitor, Sunny, breezy, low-70s

Wednesday, June 5: Wednesday Warriors on the island; Sunny & warm in the morning, threatening rain and storms in the afternoon

Thursday, June 6: 0 visitors, Foggy, mid-60s

Friday, June 7: 0 visitors; Foggy, mid-60s

Saturday, June 8: 0 visitors; Foggy in the morning and threatening storms; afternoon cleared and sunny in the high-60s

Sunday, June 9: 0 visitors; breezy, low-60s and rain in the morning; foggy and cool in the afternoon


Seguin Chanty / Ode to Seguin

Rick and I so enjoyed celebrating Seguin with a full house at Bath Golf Club this past Saturday. As requested, I am posting a recording of the song I wrote while out on the Cove Trail one morning. Lyrics follow. For everyone at the celebration – thank you for singing along with the refrain! Your voices joined us together in sweet island wave-lengths. Rick and I have now concluded our role as keepers but will long carry the influence of the island and the many special people drawn to and inspired there. Cheers to Friends of Seguin Island Light Station’s many past and present volunteers, board members, keepers, supporters, and sojourners who continue to shine and share the light.

Ever so gratefully,

Lee

Seguin Chanty / Ode to Seguin

We came to the island a summer to share;
we’d make memories there, and live by the sea.
There’d be people to meet and landscape to keep
and a light shining through history.

Oh Seguin. Oh Seguin! An island, a beacon, a friend…
Oh Seguin. Oh Seguin! An island, a beacon, a friend…

Hats off to the Coast Guard, the keepers who worked hard,
the families whose legacies live to this day.
Amid rocks and currents and foggy deterrents
the mariners finding their way.

Oh Seguin. Oh Seguin! An island, a beacon, a friend…
Oh Seguin. Oh Seguin! An island, a beacon, a friend…

“Place where the sea vomits”, the Wabanaki call it
Sutquin, where the Kennebec pours toward the bay.
Another word, Sigan, means hump / high round island,
looks like a big turtle shell from far away.

Oh Seguin. Oh Seguin! An island, a beacon, a friend…
Oh Seguin. Oh Seguin! An island, a beacon, a friend…

Birds in the morning delight with their singing, 
the goldfinches bringing a bright yellow mood.
Eiders and cormorants, ospreys and eagles
the swallows and seagulls enjoying their food.

Oh Seguin. Oh Seguin! An island, a beacon, a friend…
Oh Seguin. Oh Seguin! An island, a beacon, a friend…

(Bridge)
“I love this place,” is often heard. 
The cove, the trails, the tower…
The stories told, and new ones birthed,
the tides refreshing power…

Oh Seguin. Oh Seguin! An island, a beacon, a friend…
Oh Seguin. Oh Seguin! An island, a beacon, a friend…

We came to the island a summer to share;
we’d make memories there, and live by the sea.
There’d be people to meet and landscape to keep
and a light shining through history.

(Alter or add verses according to one’s own connections to this special place.)

Grasswork Poem

During the foggy weeks of June and July, Lee and I spent a lot of time in the Seguin museum, trying to absorb as much of the island’s “story” as possible. One of the displays that particularly grabbed my attention was a whimsical poem called Brasswork, or the Lighthouse Keeper’s Lament written in the late 1920’s by Fred Morong, Jr., a Machinist with the U.S. Lighthouse Service who frequented Seguin. A gem of lighthearted verse, Brasswork pokes fun at what was then the “bane of a Lightkeeper’s life”—the futile task of constantly polishing and re-polishing metal objects to a bright, shiny finish. Apparently this included dustpans, water pumps, doorknobs and even the buttons on one’s coat!

Fortunately for us, “brasswork” has dropped off the to-do list of present-day Seguin keepers, along with other antiquated tasks like hauling whale oil up the spiral staircase, wiping soot from the Fresnel lens, and tending to the oxen. There is, however, one job that continues to weigh heavily on the soul of today’s Seguin keeper, and that’s the subject of a poem I worked on over the summer and shared at the “Celebrate Seguin” fundraiser last weekend. With a tip of the hat to Fred Morong Jr’s original, Brasswork, I humbly present…

GRASSWORK
or the Seguin Lighthouse Keeper’s Lament

Oh what is the bane of a Seguin Lightkeeper’s life?
That causes him worry, struggle and strife?
That makes him use cuss words and sob to his wife?
It’s Grasswork.

What drains you of energy and makes your back ache?
Takes all of your time without ever a break?
Creeps into your mind whether you’re asleep or awake?
It’s Grasswork.

From the North end near where the sailboats do moor
To the trail that leads down to the rocky South shore
Let’s face it—this place is just one giant chore
Of Grasswork.

Mow ’round the Lightkeeper’s residence
Mow down to the Boathouse, mow under the Bents
And where would the campers pitch their nice tents
Without Grasswork?

From the Coast Guard “H” where they land their heli
To the solar array where you crawl on your belly
Weeding and whacking till your arms feel like jelly—
That’s Grasswork.

Out in the yard hour after hour
Mowing so hard, frankly, you’ll need a shower
Just then someone asks for a tour of the Tower—
That’s Grasswork.

And even when the fog is thicker than soup
Up from the Cove tromps a sightseeing group
Along with a dog that is happy to poop
On my Grasswork!

And the one day a week they allow you to go
Off-island for groceries and a good cuppa Joe
You pass Cyndy’s house and the yard needs a mow—
More Grasswork!

You get back to Seguin late that same day
And the grass has grown tenfold since you’ve been away!
You wanna jump in that dinghy and row to Boothbay…
Oh the Grasswork!

What freak of Nature or cruel magic trick
Could make vegetation grow back so quick?
I wish that my own head of hair was as thick
As this Grasswork.

As I lower the flag it’s increasingly clear
I won’t finish mowing, not anytime this year
And I seriously question my choice of a career
In Grasswork.

Now it’s too late to mow, the sun has bowed out
The Tower light’s on and the stars start to sprout
I lay my head down and begin dreaming about…
The Grasswork.

I’m bug-bitten, thorn-scratched, sunburnt and sore
I’ve got Poison Ivy and I’m spent to the core
I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a job more
Than this Grasswork.

-Rick H

Laughter Fills Seguin Guest Rooms

Having a little extra time with guests who stay overnight has been special for us keepers. The “suite” above the Seguin Island museum sleeps up to five people. It’s two cozy bedrooms complete with bath, plus microwave, coffee maker, and small fridge. Most recently the Dominguez / Mono family completely filled the place with laughter. Their delicious-smelling barbecue dinner was followed by a stormy night and then a beautiful calm sunrise. Family chuckles and joyous energy persisted throughout. “We spent the once-in-a-lifetime night on this beautiful island with the loveliest hospitality…Beautiful memories where made here,” they wrote. Thank you Maria, Raul, Leo, Suzanne and Frank!

The campground located on the Cove Trail offers a great option for tenters as well. If interested in spending the night on land, you can get all the information you need and begin the reservation process here: https://seguinisland.org/the-island/spend-the-night/

Engine House Gets a Shake Up

Friends of Seguin’s “Wednesday Warrior” volunteers have been improving the condition of buildings near the cove all summer. The welcome kiosk and the restroom both have new roofs. The Donkey Engine House is being newly sided with cedar shakes. By the end of the day this group always seems happy, tired, and satisfied. We so appreciate their labors, camaraderie, and good stewardship. Thanks for shaking things up!

Thank you for your support!

Donate Now!