For the fortunate guests who’ve journeyed up the 114 steps to the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse, the view that rewards them, they say, is far greater than they expected. And, depending on the time of day, or the time of year, the view they get from the top of the Lighthouse can range across the whole spectrum of colors, of light and shadow, and include every conceivable picture of the marriage between earth and sky.
This seemingly endless panoply of possibilities is one reason people come back. No two visits ever look the same. It’s also one of the reasons that first-time visitors are so often surprised. No matter how many photos you might have seen of the Harbour Town Lighthouse, nothing really prepares you for the thrill of gazing out from the top.
Distance is Barely the Beginning
The alluvial plain of our Carolina lowcountry and the jewel-like setting of the sea islands present few obstacles between you and the horizon. As a result, on even the most moderately clear days, our Savannah neighbor, Tybee Island, is in view to the south. Just to the right of that line, and nearer, is Daufuskie Island, “the paradise beyond,” where artists, eccentrics, golf lovers, and a community of intrepid owners of luxury vacation homes claim their historic corner of this pleasurable place. Turning eastward toward the Atlantic, enormous, ocean-going cargo ships stand, off in the distance, waiting their turn to enter the busy port at the mouth of the Savannah River.
And to the west – oh, to the west – we are treated each day to what many call the finest sunsets to be seen on the entire east coast. In addition to its daily journey across the sky from east to west, the slant of our planet’s posture toward the sun makes the spot where the sun takes its bow seem to move with the seasons. The sunset creeps slowly south on the horizon as winter approaches, and then to edge its way gradually back to looking level with the Lighthouse by midsummer.
The colors of those sunsets defy description. The red, the auburn, the magenta, the purple and every conceivable shade between appear to conspire each day to make the picture different. It would be fair to say that no one, not even our cordial lighthouse keeper, Nadia Wagner, has ever seen the same sunset twice. The beauty of nature you can see from here is not only unlimited, but its seeming imagination is also infinite.
Both Beyond and Within
There’s nothing in the vista you’ll take in from the top of the lighthouse to keep you from seeing as far as the weather and the curve of the earth permit. As a result, one of the things people most often remark about is the feeling of vastness that seems to come from the outside in. Through the eyes and into the heart, there’s a realization of freedom, expansive room, and possibility. Very quickly this sense turns from the physical to the spiritual. We see this and breathe a bit deeper. We feel anything ordinary take a gentle pause, and stand by, as the feeling we get from where we are, lets in a larger sense of who we are. Welcome to the Harbour Town Lighthouse.