Monday, December 20, 2010

Garlandsburg - Lighthouse & Cliff

I really was going to post this last evening, but I didn't. Sorry. Here it is now.

Clear on the other side of village, on the cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean, stood the Garlandsburg lighthouse. For years it had stood there, its light warning of the rocky cliff below as well as welcoming home to the harbor those who had sailed the vast and seemingly endless waters. Now it stood proud and tall, festooned with its Christmas garlands, wreaths and ribbons. All seemed joyous, yet old Grandpa Donovan, as he was called by everyone, walked about sober and quiet. Grandpa Donovan had been the lighthouse keeper before most of the villagers had been around. Now that he was so old, most of the responsibility of the light fell on his son, Uriah, who along with his great-grandson, Lucas, kept the light burning.

Growing restless, Grandpa Donovan donned his yellow rain hat and coat and stepped out into the world of white. Candle, his dog followed. Towards the cliff the old man made his way, eyes gazing out to sea. Would the ship come for Christmas? When he reached the edge of the cliff, he began to carefully make his way down to what was left of an old pier at the bottom.

Here the spray from the waves dashing against the rocks fell in showers. “It’s a good thing I persuaded Crystal not to put my slicker away. You need one too, don’t you, Candle, old girl.” Grandpa Donovan stroked the head of his favorite companion. “I know, I know,” the old man went on talking to the dog. “You wonder why I’m down here. Well, sometimes a body can see a ship coming in when one is down on level with the waves.” A deep sigh came from him as he gazed at the empty expanse before him. “But, not today, Candle, not today.” Slowly the old man turned and with tired steps, made his way back up the cliff.

There he again paused and looked out over the waters. Would that ship come? Would Adam get home for Christmas? As he stood there, his mind drifted back many years ago to another ship which had also been due on Christmas.

The Magi, had been his brother Douglas’s ship. Douglas had loved the sea from a child and when he was taken aboard a vessel nearly ready to sail, Douglas begged to go along. Grandpa Donovan smiled in remembrance. His brother had gone on that ship and after that had been at sea more than on land. Douglas’s ship had been due to arrive no later than Christmas Day. However, Christmas came and went and no sign of the missing vessel. It wasn’t until two months later that it did finally come in battered and worn from the violent storms. The crew were exhausted, and Douglas, well, Douglas never fully recovered from the terrible strain and had died at sea only three months later.

A whine from Candle roused Grandpa Donovan. “All right girl, we’ll go back inside where it is warmer, and smell the Christmas Eve dinner.”

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