The sight of a beacon shining bright high atop a lighthouse is an alluring scene at any point in the day, but at no time is it more profound than at dusk, as the moment steadily melds into nightfall.
When the beacon happens to be a gorgeous Fresnel lens like that of Fort Point Lighthouse in Stockton Springs, the experience is only heightened. For as darkness diffuses the last traces of daylight in the sky, the illuminating power of the lens grows ever stronger against the heavy black shroud of night.
During a recent visit to the 1857 Fort Point Lighthouse at sundown, my wife Ann and I had the pleasure of admiring such a riveting scene as it unfolded over the entrance to the Penobscot River.
As we walked up to the lighthouse, Ann and I were pleased to have the opportunity to say hello to Terry Cole, who was a Coast Guard keeper at the station in the 1970s and is also the present day resident “keeper” (along with his wife Jeri), as a Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands ranger at Fort Point State Park.
After exchanging some pleasantries with Terry, Ann and I set out for different spots around the station to view the fourth order Fresnel lens, which was being held 88-feet above the water upon the sturdy shoulders of the brick tower, assume center stage along the shadowy seascape.
Before long, Fort Point’s beacon was richly aglow and sending its guiding gleams out over the Penobscot River. I couldn’t help but marvel at how rapidly the light grew in brilliance against the night sky and how alluring it was to observe.
Though keepers no longer tend to the lights in the traditional sense, there is at least one thing that has remained unchanged at Fort Point Lighthouse. For at that moment, it was clear to me that the realm of darkness was still no match for this ageless guardian of the Maine coast, and that’s a tradition and experience worth holding onto for a long time to come!