Lighthouse Dispatches: By Iloe Ariss
“Lighthouse stands through stormy weather”
The lighthouse stood strong through a fierce thunderstorm that occurred Monday afternoon, just after the arrival of the new artist in residence, Chris Wilson. The rain continued for the next few days, delaying the painting of the helicopter pad.
The rain did not stop visitors from braving the mosquitoes and coming up the trail to explore the light station. The view from the top of the tower on a stormy day is very impressive, as one is closer to the level of the clouds and can see the wispy lines of rain out on the lake while dark sky’s are overhead.
The storm brought large waves that crashed against the cliff along the southeast side of the island. New cautionary ropes and signs mark this side of the island, as the steep drop-off is dangerous.
A few feathery friends were seen flying in and out of the birches and tall pines on the island this week. These birds are yellow-breasted and have comical tufts of feathers on the back of their heads and their tails are marked with a bright yellow line. They are commonly called Cedar Waxwings and their playful fluttering further brightens the island landscape.
Though the rainy and grey weather lasted most of the week it did not stop Chris from producing art. He began with a carefully detailed water colour painting of the assistant keeper’s abode, and continued to work on another, while also finding time to explore the island’s beaches and collect various colours of beach glass which he plans to incorporate into his artwork.
The Gordon Graham Gallery not only has additional pieces from this summer’s artists, but houses a newly built display shelf, which was installed for sculptures and objects. There is a place for every type of art medium on the island.
The garden continues to flourish and some of the kale has been harvested, cooked and eaten. The rhubarb is not quite red enough yet to be picked, but there are hopes that it will soon be ready.
Many garter snakes have been spotted on the island in the past few weeks. These thin, sliding creatures are not dangerous for humans but may eat small rodents and insects. One snake was seen chomping into a large minnow, which it proceeded to swallow whole!
Luckily, Friday was a bright and sunny day and the painting of the helicopter pad began. The labours continued into Saturday and after many hours of work, the bright red and white of the helicopter pad could be seen even more distinctly than before.
Managing director for the CLLS board, Paul Morralee, returned to the island this Saturday. He brought Matthew Sloan, a summer student working for the CLLS in Thunder Bay out with him. Matthew enjoyed the tour of the island and happily watched the lighthouse flashing among the stars on Saturday night.
The island’s residents re-fueled and re-stocked this past weekend and are looking forward to the last few weeks of August.
Next week we will hear about the addition of new floating docks to Porphyry Island and also, weather permitting, take a visit to Trowbridge Island and hear about some of the work-taking place there.
Iloe Ariss is an Assistant Light Keeper for summer for the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior Inc. established to preserve, protect and promote Lake Superior lighthouses
Waves roll in on the other side of the Sleeping Giant Credit: Donny Wabasse