Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2023

The Artist’s Muse

By Elle Claude


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Elle Claude, 13-year-old-daughter of Maine artist ...

Ever since I can remember, my dad has always loved taking pictures of lighthouses throughout the eastern coast! During sunrise, snow falls, even when the leaves on trees begin to turn a vibrant red. And sometimes while using a drone to achieve high-up angles in photos.

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Elle Claude, 13-year-old-daughter of Maine artist ...

Because of his love for art and lighthouses (as well as a bit of love for his daughter, me), last summer my dad and I took a long trip up to the north of Maine. And, after many hours, my chauffeur (my dad) and I had made it to the town near the Little River Light Island.

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Tim Harrison, Lighthouse Digest editor, and ...

As we approached the town, the view was spectacular from the small town; but it was almost like a ghost town. Not many people roamed the streets or yards, and it was extremely quiet, except for us.

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Alan Claude (l) and TIm Harrison at the boat dock ...

We parked and started to scramble out of the enormous truck and grab a calendar for the smiling couple waiting for us.  While walking, my dad started to say hello and introduce me to Tim and Kathy. Tim seemed confident and poised. Even his white hair and mustache seemed so proper and well-groomed. His cheery smile was inviting, and definitely was making me less anxious to head off to the island lighthouse! Kathy reminded me of the type of lady who would bake cookies for all the children in her neighborhood and who smiled at even the strangers. All in all, they appeared to be good people.

After the greeting, I caught a few moments of Tim talking about his current state of health, while Kathy stood close. He seemed like such a pleasant man, but we could tell he was struggling. Then, I spotted up against the far end of the dock a man with striped overalls and a few other ladies ready to board the Little River Light boat. The ride to the Little River was longer than expected, but the morning fog and the sound of the boat were calming enough to enjoy the lengthy ride. Looking back now, I would have loved to relive that ride, for the water and town appeared so still and peaceful, so untouchable.

As we arrived on the island, the trail, a wooden boardwalk, was waiting for us underneath tall pine trees. The beauty about being so far east is that from a distance all the tall trees are pine, with pointy tops like little buildings.

As we got off the boat, Dad and I carefully ran through the moist wooden trail. The opening from the trail to the lighthouse was incredible. None of us on the tour were expecting such a vibrant shade of teal-ish green on a lighthouse, but it was something! Not only was the lighthouse well-kept, but the house next to it was in very good condition. As you entered the tower, you could see straight to the top; there were twisting stairs surrounded by red brick walls. At the top was an open trap door to crawl up through, where the twisting stairs led to a circular floor above.

After standing up in the lantern, I quickly jumped out onto the deck!

The wrap-around deck looked straight out to the still sea. And the trees around were so pointy at the tops! Being up there by myself felt like my own paradise, happily spending my last few days of summer exploring an island lighthouse! After a while of roaming the high grounds, I started to explore more of the forest around the lighthouse. A long boardwalk headed towards the rocky edges of the island and what seemed like no one around for miles intrigued me. To the far right, a picnic table and a rocky and deserted path led to more coast. In spite of the stillness of the sea, the water crashing against the shore was wild and fierce. As the boardwalk came into view, I found my dad flying the drone around the lighthouse, just happy to be there.

“Hey Elle, isn’t this place awesome?” my dad uttered. I chuckled at the sight of his excitement. “Yeah, it’s beautiful.”

After enough wandering, we then trotted back up to the keeper’s house that sat beside the lighthouse. The door of the home led straight to the kitchen where a stove and table stood. Awards were on the walls, and pictures of visitors lay in frames on tables. Many lighthouse artifacts were displayed in the living room and a small bedroom near the entrance. The man with the overalls led us into the keepers’ bedroom where he talked about lighthouse keepers and all things related to the island.

We donned a couple of souvenir sweatshirts that we purchased, and strutted across the island back to the boat. But not before I took one last look at the vibrant lighthouse, honestly one of the most unique lighthouses in all of Maine. And one of the coolest!

I ran ahead to the dock where everyone was patiently waiting. I turned back around once we started getting far enough away to see the whole island. Hair in my face and all, and waved goodbye.

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2023 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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