Daughter, sister, mother, friend.
Forever loved forever missed.
2.17.81 - 5.28.05
There are times when the ocean is not the ocean—not blue, not even water, but some violent explosion of energy and danger: ferocity on a scale only gods can summon. It hurls itself at the island, sending spray right over the top of the lighthouse, biting pieces off the cliff. And the sound is a roaring of a beast whose anger knows no limits. Those are the nights the light is needed most.
The wind had kept up its sullen howl. The late-afternoon sun continued to shine in through the window, laying a blanket of bright gold over the woman and her almost-baby. The old clock on the kitchen wall still clicked its minutes with fussy punctuality. A life had come and gone and nature had not paused a second for it. The machine of time and space grinds on, and people are fed through it like grist through the mill.
Anyone who’s worked on the Offshore Lights can tell you about it—the isolation, and the spell it casts. Like sparks flung off the furnace that is Australia, these beacons dot around it, flickering on and off, some of them only ever seen by a handful of living souls. But their isolation saves the whole continent from isolation—keeps the shipping lanes safe, as vessels steam the thousands of miles to bring machines and books and cloth, in return for wool and wheat, coal and gold: the fruits of ingenuity traded for the fruits of earth.
The isolation spins its mysterious cocoon, focusing the mind on one place, on time, one rhythm—the turning of the light. The island knows no other human voices, no other footprints. On the Offshore Lights you can live any story you want to tell yourself, and no one will say you’re wrong: not the seagulls, not the prisms, not the wind.
Margaret thought about how you could spend your life trying to stay well, buckling your seat belt, eating organic food, wearing sunscreen, and then bad things could still rise up out of nowhere. Senseless things. She shook her head and pushed those thoughts away. She needed to make the marinade and get dressed for bridge.Surprisingly, this is the only passage I marked in this book of 300 pages. Even more surprising (at least to me) is that I never once shed a tear. I find myself wondering if I’ve become numb (or immune?) to stories of loss or if Woodruff misses the mark when it comes to relating the intricacies of grief. I guess I won’t know until I read another book about the death of a loved one.