31 March 2008

When I Grow Up....

It's taken purt near two score and half a decade, but I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. Nevermind that I already come close to resembling a grown-up: a middling and muddling bureaucrat with 20-plus years of dedicated guv'mint service, a dad with two hungry (and gettin' hungrier) mouths to feed, rapidly graying chest hair and lengthening eyebrows, and the simple fact that I have no skills upon which to survive beyond the ability to yak in a friendly manner about things I know just barely enough about. I finally figgered it out.

I want to be a lighthouse keeper.

A drive up the
Oregon Coast late last week confirmed it. I dragged the girls off the 101 wherever I thought I could get away with it and for as long as I thought they wouldn't whine too loudly. First stop was the Cape Blanco light (the upper photo) where I chatted with the elderly whale watching volunteers long enough to spy a couple of spouts a mile offshore in a brisk cold breeze.

A while later, we saved the 36 bucks it would've cost us to elevator down to the World Famous Sea Lion Caves for the more frugal $3 parking fee at the Heceta Head Lighthouse (photo numero dos). From there, I was able to put my limited cetacean knowledge to use with an impromptu whale talk of my own to a couple of Wisconsin tourists who probably wondered why I was excitedly yakkin' at 'em after spying several spouts slipping through the water from this tremendous viewpoint. My girls walked back down the hill without me, impatient to get to the hotel and on to Portland for 8th grade graduation dress shopping, the real purpose of this trip, not the lighthouses and whales that I'd come along for.

(Heceta Head is named, by the by, after Spanish sailor Bruno de Hezeta who piloted the first Spanish ship to dock in Trinidad Bay in the summer of 1775, stepping ashore on 10 June 1775. Hezeta, along with the captain of another small boat, Don Juan Francisco de Bodega y Quadra (of
Bodega Bay fame) claimed the Humboldt coast for Spain on June 11th, the Holy Day of the Trinity, thus the name Trinidad.)

OK, I know being a real lighthouse keeper probably demands more work than I care to romanticize. The fog and the wind and the rain probably begin to eat on you after a while. As would the isolation, at least now and then, I suppose.

But I'm willing to give it a go. From the sunny perch of my spacious lighthouse tender's cabin (once I move the quaint and undoubtedly not inexpensive B&B operation off the Heceta Head cliffs), I will write all those great things I've been meaning to write. I will welcome just a few select visitors to the headlands and explore with them the birds and whales and tides and storms and history of the Pacific coast.

Now, if I can just figure out how the vintage bookstore fits into the keeper's house, I'll be ready for my version of adulthood to settle in.


Kristabel said...

Oh, Bob...I want to be you when you grow up too!

Kym said...

I'll start my bakery/trashy novel bookstore up down the winding dirt road and we'll draw in the tourists during the summer and have the long rainy winters to spend with family and books.

Ahhh! Heaven.

Cristina said...

I've been saying for many years that, had I been born in another century, I would have been a lighthouse keeper. The nights awake, the smell of the sea, the solitude, the knowledge that what you do might be the difference between light and death - even if you never see the people you serve. A perfect vocation.