February 22, 2024

By Sister Rain

In the last couple of years, my husband and I have returned to exploring the country after a decade of sticking close to home. Travel for both business and pleasure was such an enormous part of my life before my sight went on a permanent vacation of its own. One of the first trips we took included a visit to Montauk Point Lighthouse, located at the easternmost point of Long Island, New York. Even with my limited vision I could make out its shape from a distance, reaching toward the sky like Jack’s beanstalk. 

We parked the car and made the lengthy walk from the lot to the entrance of the building at the base of the lighthouse, which contains a museum, a gift shop and the steps that take you over 100 feet up inside the tower to directly below its light. The docent at the entrance to the stairs warned us of their steepness and narrowness, so tight I had to leave my cane behind. Mister Rain confirmed I wanted to do this, I nodded my head and we set off on our aerial ascent. At 5’ 2” it was easiest for me to use my hands on the step a few above where my feet were, so vertical the circular climb. There is only width enough for one person on the stairs so the two landings within the lighthouse offer the opportunity to “pull over” so people can come down if you’re going up and vice versa. 

We made it to the top and my husband took photos that I would later be able to enlarge on my iPad. I looked out the glass windows surrounding us 360° but all I could see was the bright blue sky and the darker shaded ocean below the horizon. Blue is the only color I am able to see, a blessing that is not lost on me in moments like this. As you can imagine, there’s not much room at the pinnacle so we didn’t dawdle to allow others to reach and enjoy the summit. I took a deep breath and started the descent. Going up stairs or a hill is always easier for me to navigate than going down. But, of course, what goes one way must come the other via the same 137 steps. The “railing” is a piece of rope on the right side pulled taut with the slightest bit of slack. I’m sweating now remembering it and looking at the pictures. But mostly I am proud, and I am never proud.

We visited the gift shop, purchasing our normal souvenirs of hats, magnets, ornaments and t-shirts. Finding a bench outside, we sat and took pictures, the tall tower of the lighthouse behind us, its shadow reaching the edge of the cliff then disappearing. I could feel the warm sun on my face, the cool May breeze gently blowing my hair. The roar of the ocean harmonized with the seagulls’ calls, creating the perfect soundtrack. It was in that moment that I started to feel the first stirrings of hope that traveling was going to be okay for me with my impaired sight.

A lighthouse is a beacon used to shepherd ships at night. On that beautiful spring day, the Montauk Point Lighthouse began to guide me back to myself. 

#SisterRain #alittlesightalotofheart #legallyblindtraveler #montaukpointlighthouse #abeaconofhope #travel

For more blog posts written by Sister Rain, click here or follow her on Instagram @sister_rain.