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The Lighthouse: Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light

“Steadfast, serene,

immovable, the same,

Year after year, through

all the silent night

Burns on forevermore

that quenchless flame,

Shine on that

inextinguishable light!”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Lighthouse”


I have always loved lighthouses. I’ve photographed lighthouses lining Lake Michigan and Erie, the coast of Maine and the Eastern seaboard, the lights in California, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Greece, and on — I cannot stay away. There is something about the light, steady, sure, along a treacherous shore that I love.

The Lighthouse: Portland Head Light

When I was a teen, I bought my first D. Morgan print, and then later, a magnet, and now, I keep D. Morgan’s gorgeous gift book, A LIGHT FOR THE JOURNEY near to my writing chair. Her paintings are distinctive, and her poems, within her art, perfectly frame the subject of her work. My favorites of her work are her lighthouses series.

Every time I travel a coast, I love to look for a lighthouse, but my favorite in all my travels thus far is the Portland Head Light in Portland, Maine. This year, my family and I stopped there as part of our summer roadtrip.

Portland Head Light, July 2014
Portland Head Light, July 2014

It had been 10 years since I’d seen the Portland Head Light, and in 2004, I’d ventured out on the rocks to take a photograph. This month, in 2014, the path getting down to the rocks was nothing less than treacherous. But still I had to go. In a dress. My husband captured this photo of me out on the rocks:

Me, at Portland Head Light
That’s Me, out along the rocks at Portland Head Light, taking a photograph

The Portland Head Light changes in the shifting light. I love it in high summer, drenched with blue from the sea and sky, standing regal along the rocks.

Portland Head Light

The great revolving light on the cliff at the channel flashed warm and golden against the clear northern sky, a trembling, quivering star of good hope. – L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

the rocks along the Portland, Maine coast

There are two ways of spreading light: To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. -Edith Wharton

Portland Maine Lighthouse

Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself. -Erasmus


For you: Do you have a favorite lighthouse?

2 thoughts on “The Lighthouse: Portland Head Light

  1. Your photos are just gorgeous, Jennifer! I have always loved lighthouses, too, and Portland Head Light is iconic and incredibly lovely. I am absolutely impressed you went down on the rocks… I don’t have the guts!

    1. Yes, Portland Head Light is stunning, always. Thank you, Julia!

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