THE STORY OF "GUIDING LIGHT"
I remember my earliest childhood days — I had a handful of years on my brother but not that many to myself, when every summer, we would be loaded into the family car, alongside a couple weeks worth of vacation-life-sustaining rations, to make the annual pilgrimage to our summer vacation spot: an unassuming, sleepy coastal town in Western Denmark. Long before our parents started taking us here, theirs did the same, and so forth. Certainly, a fair bit of family lore originated here, north of the border that wasn’t far from where I grew up.
Even though my brother and I were still young then, we were old enough still to have retained some memories of our own: playing on long, white sandy beaches hiding in plain sight behind rolling dunes of warm summer sand. Above it all, there stood a lighthouse; at least a hundred feet tall, but in my childish mind it was grander still. Once or twice before, my dad had taken us up the musty, windy wooden stairs that never seemed to end, all the way to the top, to introduce us yet again to a new way of seeing the world, a birdseye perspective of the few ways we knew by then.
The Blavand lighthouse has long since become a totem of some of the happiest times of my childhood. To this day, whenever I see a lighthouse, my mind travels back, some 5000 miles and three decades, to that sense of anticipation my brother and I felt when it was finally time to get in the car and drive the three and a half hours to the place that felt like ours. Long before we would get there, we would press our noses against the carefully-cleaned car window and play a game of who would spot the lighthouse first. My parents never discouraged us, as it kept us from getting into other backseat mischief of the varied kind. Such was the pull of the lighthouse.
Today, here I sit, staring into the soul of this kindred lighthouse just down the road from where my own family has now nested. It may not be the same one, and yet it takes me back consistently, reliably — reminiscent of summer days long gone by. Oh, how I wish those nose prints on the window would stay visible just a little longer.
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