As I took this photo on a road trip along PCH with some of my best friends, the words of Ray Bradbury came flooding into my mind as to the mythical history of lighthouses, taken from my favorite short story, The Fog Horn.
“One day many years ago a man walked along and stood in the sound of the ocean on a cold sunless shore and said, ‘We need a voice to call across the water, to warn ships; I’ll make one. I’ll make a voice like all of time and all of the fog that ever was; I’ll make a voice that is like an empty bed beside you all night long, and like an empty house when you open the door, and like trees in autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying south, crying, and a sound like November wind and the sea on a hard, cold shore. I’ll make a sound that’s so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it will weep in their souls, and hearths will seem warmer, and being inside will seem better to all who hear it in the distant towns. I’ll make me a sound and an apparatus and they’ll call it a Fog Horn and whoever hears it will know the sadness of eternity and the briefness of life.”
Whether or not you, too, feel that intangible sense of wonder when glancing at this lighthouse is irrelevant. That wasn’t Bradbury’s point. The awe, in the broadest sense of the word, is to be reserved for what is beyond the lighthouse, past the fog, for what we can’t quite see but yet what we seem to naturally sense. What exactly that might be is anyone’s guess. Bradbury gives one such example of his idea of what is beyond the scope of impossibility, and manages to draw us into his world with the help of some very relatable human emotions. When confronted with Bradbury’s take on the matter, the protagonist, Johnny, sums it up quite eloquently as he listens to the sound of the Fog Horn after his recent revelation, “I sat there wishing there was something I could say.”
If you haven’t read it yet, it is only a couple pages, you’ve really no excuse. Have a great day, Cheers.