fabrics sept 2008

LIGHTHOUSE DUTY

Week Two

The second week of my volunteer service, our four- person team moved to the

Ludington Municipal Lighthouse. It’s located near Ludington, at the end of a half-mile breakwater. This week, we stayed in a house at the Ludington State Park about ten miles down the road along the Lake Michigan shoreline. It was a beautiful drive each morning.

I worked five days and we contended with fog and thunderstorms.

One day we were called early in the morning and told, “Don’t go today.” Thunder-storms with lightning surrounded us. It was good to be indoors safe and dry.

One sunny morning we parked and walked the half-mile out to the lighthouse and a short time later a restoration supervisor who was working out there told us fog was coming in. He smiled, “Soon you’ll hear the fog horn.”

Yes we did! The fog was so thick that we could not see the other side of the channel. Visibility was less than a half-mile, but people still came out to see the lighthouse. I asked one lady, “Could you see the lighthouse from shore?”

She shook her head, “No.”

(I was surprised they had come out.)

As predicted, the fog horn started and we listened to it all day. When I was up in the tower I could wear ear covers. However, when I did that, I couldn’t hear the customers. So, I took the protectors off a while to tell folks the history of the lighthouse. My talk would go like this, “The lighthouse (OOO ooo) is 58 ft tall and (OOO ooo) has 54 steps. (OOO ooo) It was built (OOO ooo) in 1924 to help the com-mercial (OOO ooo) ships navi-gate the waters (OOO ooo) of Lake Michigan.” The foghorn kept interrupting me.

One morning we went out about 10:00 and saw dark clouds piling up. About noon we got a call. “How’s the weather out there?”

Holding the phone I replied, “Threatening.” The supervisor said he’d check the weather online and call us back. He did and said, “Vacate the lighthouse

immediately!”

We closed and trotted the half-mile back to shore with thundering overhead. Just as we approached the car, lightning flashed. We jumped in, closed the doors and headed home.

I spent the afternoon reading and visiting very comfortably while the stormy weather did its thing into the night.

The other two days were what we had expected — beautiful.

Diana (Aug.’08) says, “Even though this year had many weather challenges, I love it. That is what makes it an ad-venture. Just think of the adversities the earlier lighthouse keepers had; as well as the wonderful opportunities to enjoy the nature of God.”

The past redirects the future.

James (Aug.’08) says, “It’s important to learn from past mistakes.”

*

MY SILENT RETREAT,

Visiting The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine dedicated to Yogi

Paramhansa Yogananda

He who sees me in all things and in all things sees me.

I will never lose sight of him nor he of me.”

This is a quote from the Bhagavad Gita — the sixth book of Mahabharata, a holy book of Hinduism originally written in Sanskrit in 400-300BC. The passage is etched beneath a statue of Lord Krishna, one of the most commonly worshiped deities of the Hindu faith. This eternally youthful figure with flute in hand gazes across the lake of the place I call my “spiritual home.”

Last summer, I spent three days in silent retreat at the Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades, California. It was not my first visit. In 2006 when I first set foot in this blissful garden, I felt an instant connection. During last July, with help from family and friends, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a three-day silent retreat in this oasis of serenity.

Austerity pleases me. For some time I have felt a longing to remove myself from society at large for a short time — just to regroup, refocus and recharge. Silence and plain living served my inner call. Although my room was almost a renunciate’s cell, the retreat’s garden is an opulent beauty. As I spent unrestricted time walking, praying and meditating along the shores of the lake, I realized: what better way to an Englishwoman’s heart than with a beautiful garden?

The lake is spring- fed and five outpourings nourish the malachite green striations of the smooth water. The predominant color of flowers in the garden is a vibrant shade of three dimensional blue.

I sit and absorb sensation: color, vibration and fragrance

Liz/Moscar (July ‘08) adds, “The special blue is the hue that I see when I stay up so late that the air starts to thrum like a plucked harp string.” Editor’s note: Next month, Liz tells more about her retreat.

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