I was 12 the year the lighthouse first pulled me into its outstretched arms. Confused and hurt by my parents’ divorce, I was in an unfamiliar place, with a different family to embrace. But that night the waves sang assurances, the lighthouse shone safety, and I slept soundly.
I was 20 the year I wanted to act grown up and was invited to go out with the adults and sit in the lounge while they sipped their margaritas. But, even though my birthday was a bare ten days away, the bartender bounced me out. Back at the cabin, alone in the dark, I was a child again. The lighthouse beam crossed my bed in comfort, the steady waves soothed my embarrassment, and I slept soundly.
I was 25 the year I burgeoned with an unborn baby. Even then the lullaby of the waves seemed to calm his movement in my belly.
And when I was 30, my young son and toddler daughter were enamored with the light that played on their beds and the music of the waves that rocked hard against the shore.
That music became the counterpoint to my teenage daughter’s violin, when she and other family musicians played an impromptu concert the year I was 42. Wine mixed with laughter. And the light outside pointed to our lightness on the inside.
Thanksgiving at the cabin is a potluck of food, faith, and family, and I have missed its salty flavor the many times I’ve had to be absent. This year I will be turning 49. My 2 children are now grown—each of us living in a different East Coast state. But we assure each other that one Thanksgiving, soon, we will gather together in Oregon again.
We will arrive at night, the light-beam reminding our eyes and the wave-music reassuring our ears, that there is no better place to be for the Thanksgiving holiday.
And we will sleep soundly.