Recently we’ve been reflecting on our roles as caretakers vs lightkeepers.  One definition of a caretaker is a person employed to look after a building.  Or similarly, to look after people or animals.  Other words that show up are janitor, warden, custodian, steward.  Aaah. Steward. We like that – to manage or look after another’s property.  Very fashionable today to talk about being stewards of our environment, or nature.  It feels like being a steward brings about a responsibility of relationship with or warmth towards this property.  And I gotta say, that’s what’s happening with us here on Seguin Island.  Yes we clean, trim, clear out and fix things, but as each day goes by, we are becoming more attached to these 64 acres and its buildings.  And as we meet and greet our visitors, it feels more and more like guests in our own home.  Wow…

Now – a lightkeeper.  Sounds very relaxing and romantic.  Read books, watch the waves, follow the sun’s path across the day, listen to the birds.  Just make sure the light comes on at night and you’re set!  Actually, take the “caretaker” portion out of the mix, and your not all wrong.  However as you’re up in the lantern room polishing the amazing prisms, sweeping out the daily accumulation of dust, a feeling of connection with history overtakes you.  A lighthouse keeper’s life was not easy.  310 articles of instruction and 37 “plates” or illustrations in the 1902 manual.  They worked hard all day every day and because of their dedication, mariners avoided hazards and found their way to harbors all over the world.  Walking up the same steps as previous Seguin keepers, caring for the very same lens is just a bit awe-inspiring…actually, more than a bit.  Even following the paths of the modern day caretakers of the last 25+ years that FOSILS has loved this place, is an honor.  You might think automation and gps would eliminate the need, but these beacons deserve all our care and attention we can give.  So most of our photos this week will be all about her.

We had foggy, rainy, crazy wind days this week, followed by an absolutely lovely day on Tuesday.  The water was so calm and sun warm, that our visitors that day swam in the cove after their tour.  Yesterday 3 folks swam from their boat!  Understand that all these people are “Mainers” and grew up around here.  I just don’t see too many out-of-staters diving in these waters just yet – including us!  Although as the temperatures soar, it is starting to look inviting.  We did wade in a ways, and of course Lily jumped right in fetching sticks.  Check back with us in a couple weeks – we did pack swimsuits 🙂

The museum displays look more interesting each week and our gift shop inventory is expanding. Summer is happening.  Unfortunately, our first overnight guests last Thursday had to give up their 2nd night because risky weather was moving in for a few days and they couldn’t skip work.  A family with a 9 & 11 year old, they took full advantage of the one sunny day and explored most of the trails and beaches with enthusiasm!  We’ve had over 50 visitors this week.  Some bring lunch up and appreciate the picnic table, others just to sit after climbing up the hill!  Most everyone wants to go up in the tower.  And we can’t say it often enough, love hearing their stories!  One gentleman from Connecticut was on his fourth visit – his 1st was 45 years ago.  He actually watched the USCG shoot waterhoses over 130 feet up from their ship to the vicinity of the keepers’ quarters (this took several attempts) in order to fill the cistern.  And we thought walking down to the pump house each day was a task – progress!

Another thought on polishing the lens.  If the sun is out, it is HOT in the lantern room.  Somehow we just can’t seem to coordinate lens time with cloudy days.  With that sun, though, you see the beauty of all the little rainbows of light flashing on the walls and steps.  And when you look out from the upper part, the view is upside down, ocean above, sun & sky below.  Enchanting!  In the 1820’s Augustin-Jean Fresnel designed this lens that now carries his name because of his fascination with optics.  Little did he realize the impact his idea would have over time.  “A Short Bright Flash” is on our read list.  His life and how he came to this unique discovery comes highly recommended by many of our fellow lighthouse enthusiasts.

We were blessed a couple of nights with a beautiful full moon coming up over the water.  The sunsets (& occasional sunrise) continue to thrill.  The rain is keeping the grass a wonderful green.  A special treat came on our way back from town yesterday – Cap’n Ethan’s day on the water resulted in a rare blue lobster in his catch – so amazing.

If this heatwave going on is getting to you – come see us.  The high here this week was 74 degrees with a slight breeze.  (Hate to brag…)  

Happy July 1st!

Water above, sky below
Shining on

Official manual
Mainers 🙂
So green
A place to read
Sunset from catwalk
Seguin storms!
Strawberry full moon
Just another sunset
1 in 200 million!
Got a haircut!
Did I mention Lily’s having fun?
Up or down?

8 thoughts on “Week Five

  1. Jan, your blog is great. I can almost smell the ocean and you are surrounded by it! Ah, the caretakers, perfect job description as you take care of the beautiful lighthouse.

  2. A lovely blog: beautifully written and photographed. Keep up the good work on the island! We’ll be there the end of September for a couple weeks. Sorry we won’t meet you.
    Tim and Lynne
    Caretakers since 2008

    1. Thank you ~ what a treat to come back for 2 weeks in the fall! I’m sure we’ll do that some year…

  3. Love your blog and pics! It must be beautiful there. Thanks for stewarding the island and lighthouse. You will forever be a part of Seguin’s history. Sandy

  4. Hi Jan, been enjoying your perspectives of lighthouse/island caretaking- the great and not so glamorous apects! We are planning a visit for a day the week of August 9. Look forward to meeting you all!

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