Wednesday, January 16, 2013

North Point Lighthouse

This winter I went to Lake Park, at the edge of the East side Milwaukee neighborhood where I grew up, and saw the lighthouse beautiful in the falling snow. As I photographed it I saw people going in and out the front door. I read the sign. The lighthouse was open that day. I had never been inside it. It had never been open in the past. So I went in. And I climbed the narrow staircase to the top, in a snowstorm.
I looked around at the park, at the blue grey lake and at the houses in the neighborhood off into the distance and as the snow swirled around, I thought of when I was a child. When the fog rolled in off the lake, the thick Lake Michigan fog, so thick you would walk down the street, enclosed in that fog, a cocoon around you, the only illumination would be the halos of streetlamps. And the only sound you could hear, in the fog womb, was the sound of the foghorn that warned ships of the danger of foundering; Lake Michigan is a grave of shipwrecks. The lighthouse is decommissioned, the foghorn gone, but, I can still hear that sound.

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