The Lighthouse at Cattle Pass

From my vantage point
on this rocky spit
this miniature headland
I watch
it is my duty to watch
and to warn the unwary during
nighttime passings or
winter’s fog and storm
to send out the light
to sound the horn
and alert the danger
while during the summer months
I pose for the noisy power boats
the elegant sloops and skittering kayaks
giving them my best whitewashed sides
and jaunty red cap for their cameras

A sentinel to casual sailors
and the local fishing fleet
I watch as they maneuver through the
narrow slit between the islands at Cattle Pass
where the tide picks up speed
pulsing and spinning and surging
as it powers through the channel

Wise sailors time their passage to slack tide
when the great lungs of the sea pause for a moment
between inhaling and exhaling
when the whirlpools and currents slacken
and it is safe and you are not so likely
to be thrown about

But not for the novice this passage
a mere one hundred yards in length
what could be so difficult
“Watch this!” commands the confident initiate
and I do
I always watch
it is my duty
I have watched countless gleaming
watercraft charge into the chaos
only to be caught and flung into spins
and gyrations and wild over-corrections
as they are pushed and swung and bullied
toward the nearby shoals and beckoning rocks

And if they do come safely through
I have watched these bold young captains
excuse themselves and hurry below
hands shaking
knees trembling
to change their wet pants
and repair their injured bravado
no longer novices to Cattle Pass

I am a sentinel
it is my duty to watch
and remember the passing
of time and creatures
of the wind and water
and of the convulsions beneath me
I sit here adjacent to this ocean
I note everything that passes

I am a sentinel
I am the lighthouse at Cattle Pass

Marv Himmel
February 7, 2018 ©

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