Lighthouses, Seagulls, and enough Charming Miscellanea to choke a cat: Road Trip Part 4

Another symptom of growing up in a landlocked state like Nebraska is a fascination with, and a unreasonable fondness for, things that you usually only find near the coast. I doubt if this is the way it is for all Midwesterners, but it certainly is this way with me. Seagulls. Waves. Shells. Sea glass. Sand dollars. That lovely aqua color. Stones smoothed by the constant motion of water. Lighthouses. I am passionately drawn to them all.

Judging by the displays of lighthouse kitsch, vases full of shells, clocks with seagulls painted on them and whatnot that is available around here in stores and even more at yard sales, I can’t be alone in this matter. Perhaps (considering the garage sales) this trend to decorate your bathroom or your guest room to look like a beach house comes and goes? But not with me. I have jars of shells and all sorts of mementos of visits to various beaches all over my home. I’m sitting at the kitchen table right now, and there are two jars of smooth stones and tiny shells from our trip to the island in Lake Erie right in front of me.

To be fair, I’m also pretty involved with the beautiful environment around me, too. The plains of Nebraska never get dull to me. Even out walking on our gravel road (which, it must be pointed out, is not the beach, but is still doggone pretty, and nearly as changeable), I pick up smooth rocks, pick flowers, catch baby toads, pick up small snakes, and admire the stunning color of the sumac leaves, and writing this . . . I realize that basically I’m still 5 years old in many ways. And I’m kind of thankful about that. You can’t really grow old if the world never gets old to you, can you?

I mean, as long as you completely ignore the mirror. Completely and utterly. *sigh*

Hmm. It’s been so long since I’ve set up a “click to tweet.” Do you mind, Gentle Reader? Here goes: (I love doing this.)

One of the subtler pleasures of blogging is setting up a “click to tweet,” really, it’s very satisfying. Even more satisfying when I see that my Gentle Readers take the time to (wait for it) click to tweet it. 🙂 Try it–it’s fun!!

Moving on . . . have you noticed the color of the sumac lately, by the way? Here in Nebraska we don’t have the reputation for enjoying stunning fall colors, but believe me, we do. We just keep it a nice little secret. Perhaps we don’t have the colors in the ostentatious quantities that they have in the New England states (here in the Midwest we are more modest about our fall colors, and most everything else, too, except–of course–for the Cornhuskers natch’), but just an accent of intense, pure colour is quite delightful, and quickens the pulse and brings color to the cheeks just as much as an entire hillside of riotous color. So Sayeth I.

For example: the soy bean fields are quietly biding their time currently, as unassuming and humble as pillbugs–rarely do we even notice them–and then–pow!–one day they’ll explode in waves of brilliant color: golden, spring green, orange, and we’ll gasp and say: “Whoa, will you look at that field that I’ve never ever noticed before? Why . . . it’s simply gorgeous!” And then, within a few days, the glorious color fades to a most (let’s see, what’s the polar opposite of the word “stunning”?) drab and insignificant brownish. I’m going to share with you some photos of gorgeous fall colors here in Nebraska, but that’ll be another post . . .

Robert Louis Stevenson was a poet after my own heart. He and I would have been friends, I’m sure of it, and he would have walked with me on our gravel road, every evening (slowly, for he was chronically in poor health), and waited (with an indulgent upturn to his mouth) while I caught baby toads and photographed sumac leaves and picked up the most perfect stones for my Stone Jar. He wouldn’t have stayed long when he came to visit, because the air here–especially during harvest, oh my!–is full of dust and pollen and so forth–and certainly wouldn’t be tolerated by his poor lungs. He wrote the most exquisite poetry for children. You’ve heard this, I’m sure. He would recite such things as we walked:

“The world is so full of a number of things,

I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”

And I would agree and say something foolish like “Yup. That there sumac sure is purty, ain’t it? Shoot, I’m happy as a princess, myself. Looky that there li’l ole hop toad, won’tcha? Cute!! Let’s catch it!
Once again, he’d smile indulgently at me . . . and flick a quick glance at his pocket watch.
Robert Louis Stevenson by Sargent.jpg

Robert Louis Stevenson, a painting by John Singer Sargent (image in public domain, thank you Wikipedia

You may wonder about the point of this post–as I am at this point, a little–but hang on, we’ll get there. I’m wending my way. Slowly but surely.

My friend Sherri is forever posting pictures (she’s quite a traveler, and an excellent photographer, besides) of lighthouses. I wish she just lived down the road, and after her globe-trotting travels (France, the Philippines, Connecticut, Kansas) she and I could meet on the road and we’d walk together (sheesh, I’m thinking I haven’t been on enough walks lately?) she could pull out her photos and I could ooh and aah over them) she posts these stunning photos. Many of them are of lighthouses. She knows I’m sea-entranced, and full of lighthouse-wistfulness, so I would accuse her of doing it just to goad me, but for the fact that she sent me a chicken purse, and little Mack a coin purse made out of a toad. Who would do such things, except for a true friend?? And a true friend certainly wouldn’t goad . . . right? Of course right.

Lighthouses are so picturesque, and Sherri’s lighthouse pictures cause me always to catch my breath, and then feel quite wistful at my lighthouse-deficient life. I can’t take pictures like Sherri’s, because I live in Nebraska. Such is my lot, and it’s a sad one that I am so fond of lighthouses and can only admire them in other peoples’ photos. Don’t you agree?

That is, I haven’t taken lighthouse pictures . . . until . . . now.

We had the privilege of gazing at, and photographing, three stunning lighthouses during our trip. Three. When I expected none. What a windfall! Would you like to see the pictures? Oh well, o–kaaay. I’ll share them with you. 🙂 Since you insist.

Here’s the first lighthouse, one we stumbled onto when we made a quick stop (on our way back from Niagara Falls) to see Lake Erie. It was cold and windy and the sun was setting fast. Amalia and Sonia walked out on the long pier to take photos, and I tagged along, like the third wheel that I often am (sigh).  It was a delight to be there with them, gasping with delight, at the moment when the sun dropped beneath the clouds and turned everything pink.

Here’s a quick photography lesson for you, from me, a rank amateur photog, to show you how all-important the light is in photos. The next sequence of photos were all taken within a few minutes of each other, but look how difference they are from each other:

Photo One: the lighthouse before the sun dipped beneath the clouds. Lovely, eh, but a bit in the shadow. But the pink in the clouds is a hint of what’s coming.

Lighthouse 1: before the sun dropped.

Lighthouse 1: before the sun dropped. Nice.

Here’s the same lighthouse a few minutes later, after the sun dropped just a bit: now it’s bathed in a rosy light. What do you think?


Lighthouse after the sun dropped beneath the clouds: *gasp*! Stunning!

As we stood there admiring it, along came this little tugboat, which tried hard to upstage the lighthouse. More interest in the picture! *snap* Gosh, I’m glad we didn’t run out of film. 😉 And–bonus!–it caught some of that gorgeous light, too.


And then–a reward for our patience–the scores of seagulls that were hanging out on the pier with us decided to go check out what was going on out there at that boat . . .



Sonia, Amalia and I (like the Nebraskans that we are) were snapping photos like crazy, when all of a sudden, Amalia’s battery ran out of juice. So then she and I shared one battery, between our two cameras (don’t ask). So I lost track of who took which picture, but since Amalia is already a better photographer than I am, she probably took the better pictures shown here. 🙂


Oh, and she took this one, obviously–here’s me, next to my preferred habitat–water!!–having a great hair day, as you can see (sigh).

These seagulls were nonplussed by our presence. :)

These seagulls were nonplussed by our presence. 🙂

My goodness, this has gone a little long, so I’m going to write about the other two lighthouses in the next post, just so I can get to my day, Gentle Reader, and so you can get to yours!

A quick coconut-oil-related note: now is the time to stock up on the GOOD STUFF: Tropical Traditions Gold Medal Virgin Coconut Oil. The gallons (that’s how I buy it) are half off until this Thursday, Oct. 9. I plan to stock up! A sweet friend asked me the other day: “Do you really use that coconut oil as much as you mention on your blog?” I told her “YES! I do! I really do. It’s true that if you click on the link below and make a purchase, if you’ve never ordered from Tropical Traditions before, that is, I’ll score a small gift certificate, but they don’t pay me to say nice things about their products. I just am a big fan of this oil, what is has done for me and my health, and how delicious it is. I’ve written other things about it, besides, if you’re curious, about what the big deal is about Virgin Coconut Oil!

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Thanks for checking in today, Gentle Reader, and for sharing my lighthouse pictures with me. I love ya, I really do! *smooch*

10 thoughts on “Lighthouses, Seagulls, and enough Charming Miscellanea to choke a cat: Road Trip Part 4

  1. Doree Weller

    I love how you made all this come alive during your post. I never realized that fields of soybeans could be so colorful! I too, love the beach. Currently, I’m living in Texas and I’m loving being near lakes and creeks again. The last place I lived was Arizona, which was a little… dry. 🙂 In any case, keep chasing frogs and seeing beauty in the everyday stuff around you! Not nearly enough people do.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I’ve actually never been to Arizona, but I don’t know if that would be the place for me . . . I’ve heard that it’s very hard to grow things there, which lessens its appeal.

  2. Minette

    Another awesome post that has me in stitches. I loved all the lighthouse photos and share your obsession with sea things. My house is full of them. Living at the beach for two years I have learned that I don’t have to pick up EVERY shiny object that captures my attention, but I still bring home many of them. I have stones from almost every place we have traveled to, lovely mementos and reminders of the diverse worlds we have been lucky enough to visit.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I wonder if people who live by the sea collect midwestern memorabilia . . . jars of corn kernels, paintings of “big sky” sunsets, little bitty cow figurines . . . ? Naw.

  3. Alana

    My husband has a cousin who has lived almost all her life in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has family in Rhode Island and others in New Jersey near the Jersey Shore. Guess where she goes every summer on a vacation? She can’t get enough of the sea. I wouldn’t be surprised if her apartment in “ABQ”, as she calls it, is decorated in Modern Seashell and Lighthouse. Hey, I’ve got shells in my house, too, and I was born in sight (or not that far from being in sight) of the Atlantic Ocean.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I’d be spending a lot of time at that coast if I lived there, Alana. I’d have my cup of coffee and my laptop and my sketchbook (and maybe, now and then, a sammage) and I’d be set. 🙂

  4. Judy - Pedagogical Artist

    You photos Amy, are amazing. What a deep philosophical story they tell – how Life can change so dramatically from one moment to another – from peaceful and calm to a storm and then quiet once again. And the seagulls with the tugboat! WOW! The tug of war between Man and Nature. Hmm …

    I can relate to your love of water. There is nothing I love more than watching the water and listening to its sounds.
    Love reading your posts. Love your style of sharing – so much fun getting to know you! Who knows, maybe one day I will find my way to Nebraska. HUGS <3

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      My heart just gave a little leap at the prospect of meeting YOU! I’d love a visit, but not this week, dear Judy. I’m getting ready for my kids and my grandson to visit . . . 🙂

  5. Doug Jarvie

    Interesting comment about mirrors and aging:
    Last week end I visited an Augustinian Monastery. There are no mirrors in the washrooms, and the monks that live there are all over 90 years old.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      That’s interesting. I know that for me, I’d still believe that I’m in my mid-twenties, except for that blasted mirror . . . !!

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