Thursday, October 9, 2008

Treasure Island Lights

Once upon a time I kept a little sail-boat in Sausalito, on San Francisco Bay. The trick, when sailing at night, was to find your way back to the slip from San Francisco. The lights could be confusing—from the lighthouse on Alcatraz to the reds and greens of the many shipping lanes, to the carpet of whites and yellows on the shore—navigation by eye was tough. Soon I came to rely on two white lights on the far shore--keep them in line and you couldn’t go wrong as you made your way home.

When we purchased Treasure Island, I thought back to San Francisco Bay—and decided that the seawall lights, which were intended for occasional use, should be held on 24/7, for the local sailor who might benefit from a light or two on a dark night. The lights burn through the winter as well—a hopeful sign that the lake once again will have life come spring.

There’s another angle. When you live on a lakeshore at night—you are mostly looking out your windows at a big black hole. If everyone was willing to keep a few lights on—the scene would be a livelier one.

It doesn’t take much electricity. We use 60 watt bug lights that are reduced to 30 watts through two rheostats. Every season when we come back to open, we find three or four lights have gone out. It is a rare year when we replace half a dozen bulbs--a small price to pay for a little cheer.