With a strong wind advisory and competing wave action from the south and southwest causing the Lake Superior water to haystack, I have decided to delay my departure home, for calmer waters.
The final moments of the long weekend winding down and also of my summer, I am waiting out the storm with 30km blowing rain, low visibility with a distant shore calling.
I’m inside the keeper’s house watching the effects of the storm, with a fire set in the basement furnace, a cup of tea in hand, I’m ready to write my final dispatch to try to distill the summer experience.
My first thought is, “Where did the summer go?” for it seemed to have disappeared too quickly. And my second thought was “How do you share the highlights of a unique experience?”
The Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior, Porphyry Island Lighthouse site has left 320 registered visitors with something to remember, whether it be the wonderful weather, beautiful scenery or that Lake Superior is always in charge!
Taking in the striking geology of the basalt rock formation that make up the island or watching the lonely Monarch Butterfly searching for sustenance, I think leaves the visitor with a lasting memory. And sighting a hungry bear visiting the island for wild berries makes you slightly cautious, that’s why I always ring my bell when riding the lighthouse trail.
For me the journey of the summer has been watching the results that; if you do something, you can engage others to do more.
The lighthouse summer staff are examples of this with Stephanie and Lissi being self-motivated, hard working and tuned into the experience, which made the site even better for visitors. Or the many other people who assisted in installing the new docks, clearing the trails, or donating something, it creates a movement.
It’s an amazing feeling when someone donates a mountain bike so visitors can enjoy a bicycle ride through the forest to the light. And as time marches forward I believe more people will come forward to help build further access to our regional lights not just Porphyry Island.
Not only are the passing boaters helping out, but families who have made the north shore part of their summer existence recognizing the lighthouse groups’ efforts, and are supporting further the work. This gives a real boost to the visitor experience because it’s not about one city, one town, one village or hamlet, it’s about all of us, working together to provide access to these beautiful sites for everyone.
The Rogalski Family writes in the guest book: “We are descendants of Andrew Dick- (Porphyry) Lighthouse Keeper 1880, we are honoured to be able to visit this site. Thank you for maintaining it for our generation to see.”
I’d like thank all volunteers, visitors and especially the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior Board of Directors for hiring me on as the managing director for this summer experience. I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to “play-it-all-forward” for future generation to share.
I know that as a society we have a lot of other important things on our plate, but to hold onto this small piece of history that helped built our country is an important custodial action future generation can come appreciate. See you next year.