Highland Light

Highland Light

Some places on Cape Cod never change.  In the late 1950s and 1960s my family and I spent one week each summer in North Truro.  We rented a housekeeping cottage and did then what families still do today.  We swam at Head of the Meadow Beach.  We drove out to Race Point to watch the sunsets.  We visited Highland Light where my father sketched the lighthouse so he could paint it later.  I remember being able to drive fairly close to the lighthouse and then we had to walk to get closer to it.

In late July this year my husband and I joined other family members for a vacation in Orleans.  One day my husband and I took a day trip to my favorite childhood places.  The Highland Light was one of those places.  Today the parking lot seems farther away from the lighthouse and the walk to the overlook seems different, but it’s well worth the view.  I walked to the overlook alone since my husband is still using a walker to get around after he fractured his pelvis in five places in early July.  Walking that same path I had walked on as a child felt lonely now.  My dad and my sister are deceased and my mother is in a nursing home.

After snapping some photos of the lighthouse, I drove to the Head of the Meadow Beach.  I don’t remember the beach access being so treacherous, but the building housing the restrooms and changing areas looked the same.  It was a difficult climb to the beach itself for my husband using his walker, and I now regret suggesting we go there.  It was hard for me also carrying the beach chairs and towels.  I don’t remember it being such a difficult walk to the beach as a child, so perhaps the beach access has changed.  I know I would remember if signs were posted years ago warning of sharks like they were on our recent visit.  Sharks were swimming in closer to shore because of all the seals that are now a common sight among the swimmers.  Not only were signs posted; a swimmer had apparently just spotted a baby shark which was then captured by a man using his small boat.  The shark was a great attraction as it lay on the beach surrounded by tourists snapping pictures with their i-phones.  We didn’t have i-phones when I was a child or captured sharks lying on the beach.  It seemed like life was simpler then before all the electronics and climate changes.

No matter when one visits the Cape, the magic is always there.  Even with the changing environment, the shifting sand dunes, the new seafood shacks and ice cream parlors, there is the same feeling of comfort the ocean always brings to one.  On our recent trip, my grandchildren swam in the same waters of my childhood and walked on the Skaket Beach tidal pools at low tide just before sunset to catch baby crabs and tiny fish, my three-year-old granddaughter  picking up the crabs and talking to them (Don’t bite me, crab!).   They danced to the music at beach concerts in Chatham and licked ice cream cones at the end of the day.

I will always have my memories of my childhood vacations on the Cape.  Now my grandchildren are creating memories of their own.  Life on the Cape in many ways will never change.



One Christmas I wrote two poems about a lighthouse, one that rhymed and one that did not.  One of the difficulties of writing poetry occurs when some lines begin to appear on the paper with rhyme and rhythm but other lines do not.  Originally, I wrote this poem with rhyme, but then I tried it again without.  I posted “Lighthouse Dreams” last summer, but during this Christmas season, I remembered the Christmas lighthouse poem, and I decided to add that to my blog.  I think the message is the same, but it’s just stated in a different form.  What I love about lighthouses, besides the fact that my father also loved them, is the strength they always seem to have whether they stand on the shore in the heat of summer or during the icy days of the winter.


Winter’s grey light that smothers the beams
Pushes its way toward the keeper of dreams.
Snow swirling wildly in the icy white light
Dances on edges cut into the night.

Lonely and proud he stands on the shore
‘Mid jagged rocks and gentle roar,
Glowing, treetall soldier of the soul
Guiding us on toward a distant goal.

Angel lights twinkle in red, white, and green,
Illuminating joyous Christmas scenes
Far from the lighthouse with his circling light
Standing strong and silent on this Christmas night.

Like the Wise Men drawn to the manger scene,
We bring him gifts of our own inner dreams.
Years beyond this holy night
We’ll see them again in the glow of his light.

As he lifts them into the darkening sky
Scattering them far with unblinking eye,
Watching the dreamkeeper’s eternal call,
We follow the light to the last dream of all.

© Barbara Flass 2000

Lighthouse Dreams

Lighthouse Dreams

He stands on alert,
his solidness and bulk
belying the grace of his light.

Guarding the rocky shore,
the waves crashing at his feet,
he is unmoved by the force without.

Savior of all who sail the surrounding seas
and savior of all who walk
beneath his eye.

Drawn to its serenity,
to its protectiveness and strength,
we let our dreams reside within.

Who better to guard them,
our hopes and our wishes?

And later, maybe years beyond,
he will lift them into the light,
beam them into the darkness,
scatter them into the sky.

We stand alone on rocky beaches
searching the sky,
seeking the stars for our lighthouse dreams,
feeling the guidance of the light
as we float into eternity
toward our greatest dream of all.

© Barbara Flass 1998