Photo Shuffle-Close To You

I pressed play on my Ipod and this is what I heard…Close To You By Fairport Convention.

Highland Lighthouse-Truro, Massachusetts
Highland Lighthouse-Truro, Massachusetts

Like a lot of other people I suspect, I have always had a fascination with lighthouses. Tall ones, short ones, striped ones, whatever they look like it does not matter to me. It is the idea of lighthouses that has always appealed to me. Without sounding too nostalgic, they represent an older form of technology that is still relevant today, even in this high-tech era. Satellites and computers can fail, but the simple light reflected onto a Fresnel lens can be seen for miles at sea and remains the best way for a ship to know land is near. Like others, I have climbed to the top of many a lighthouse in my day, and taken many a photograph of them. It is hard to understand precisely why they have such a fascination. Could it be because they stand like sentinels in the harshest weather year in and year out? Could it be for the allure or romance of them in hundreds of books-the lonely lighthouse keeper, maintaining the beacon at all costs? Could it be because of some of the improbable feats of engineering used to build them in some of the most difficult and challenging terrain around the world? The answer for me would certainly be all of the above but there is one other reason that springs to mind in hearing this song by Fairport Convention.

The strength and resiliency of a lighthouse has also long been used as a sign of a relationship-be it a personal, or even a spiritual one. The same strong foundation, and shining light are often used as metaphors, as in this song. I have written about Fairport Convention before here, so I’ll let you backtrack about the band itself.  The song was written by Chris Leslie,  the multi-instrumentalist for the group. It is full of some beautiful imagery centered around a lighthouse theme and a lighthouse keeper yearning for his loved one (as Chris explains in the liner notes). The parallel between a relationship and the physical strength of a lighthouse as in this line-‘I turn my way, to the top of this sultry fortress, To light the way so others won’t come aground.’ Or this one- ‘And you know your smile is in this light, That I will send into the night’.  I love a song that switches back and forth between the reality-a storm tossed ocean, ships sailing and seabirds flying set against the dreamy thoughts one has when you are away from your loved one and just want them near you. It is a beautiful song, and one that has been a favorite for me since it first appeared on The Wood & The Wire album some years back. My favorite band, and the subject matter of a lighthouse made it a perfect fit I suppose!

On a side note, I should mention two wonderful books about lighthouses I have read. One is called Guardians Of The Light-Stories of  U.S. Light Keepers by Elinor DeWire. The second is The Lighthouse Stevensons By Bella Bathurst, which is about the building of Scottish lighthouses by the family of Robert Louis Stevenson. Both highly recommended.

Fresnel Lens- Halifax, Nova Scotia
Fresnel Lens- Halifax, Nova Scotia

Close To You-Written By Chris Leslie

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle



15 thoughts on “Photo Shuffle-Close To You

  1. Aakansha

    This post made me remember a quote I read a couple of days back, ‘Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.’ 🙂

    I love lighthouses too. Somehow they always invoke a sense of mystery and wonder and make me think of all the stories that are attached to them.
    Love the photograph too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Aakansha! I really have been fascinated with them throughout my life. I love that quote because it is so true! They really have inspired some great things, and I love that they are still relevant today and have not been replaced!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s something about being a light in the darkness that has always resonated with me….it’s something that is always mentioned time and time again in Christianity…which would explain it’s significance within that particular religion. I swear, everywhere you turn you will find something referring to a lighthouse in a church lol. I enjoyed reading your post Robert….you always seem to shed new light (pun intended) on a subject!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean about church. It does seem to be a recurring theme. Darkness into light and that sort of element. I also love that lighthouses have always been used in many the scary story. Dark, foggy nights, ghosts…all that sort of thing! Thank you for the comment, and the pun!


  3. Thank you so much Tasha. For the comment and your friendship. I can’t believe its been 3 years already! The artist was always there but I needed to reach down deep and own it. I’m lucky to have such great people on my side supporting me like you. I’m glad I wrote that letter-it was like therapy and a statement rolled into one. Thanks yet again my dear friend!


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