and then there was light

Tomer's Lighthouse

Image by Tomer Tysowsky

Reading Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm germinated in me an unhealthy desire to watch a mega-storm; probably not on the water, but close enough to feel the tininess that is being human.

Over the last summer I ventured attempted to visit all of the lighthouses along the North Carolina coast, in severely illogical order:

light houses.pdf

Original image from Lantern Press, Lighthouse and Town Map, Outer Banks

I also went to the Wright Brothers Memorial near Manteo, and was struck anew by the willpower of mechanics and tinkerers who are hell-bent on figuring out that they had set out to figure out. Especially when your co-conspirator is your equally tinkering, equally dedicated, equally bachelor brother. And with the collective power of their frontal lobes, tiny humans strained toward a dream and took to the sky.

Naturally, the one lighthouse I chose to climb is the tallest: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at 210 feet, depending on your sources. There are pages of all sorts of terrible things that might happen, for which the government is not responsible in case they should befall you. An AED was located halfway in the tower; and the question remains, who shall deliver said device in its need?

I was fascinated by the Fresnel glasses, which in their own right, have grades much like diamonds. Apparently the lenses were also irresistible to thieves, although if I had my choice, acquisition of any loot should not increase my likelihood to suffer a herniated disc. I have no idea what sort of pulley system was called upon to transport the unauthorized acquisition, but that is one potentially deadly Rapunzel’s delivery.

The lighthouses seem arcane now: the light’s automated, and the buildings are arguably ornamental. But in their time, the lighthouses are human’s victories over nature, who unfazed by the darkness of a wild sea, created for themselves a guiding light. The tender to conquer storms are measured in men’s lives, but the human spirit seems to be immortal.

For more stories of tinkerers who won’t let up on their dreams, check out How We Got to Now. I have a moderate geek crush on Steven Johnson. 



I read somewhere that a hiatus of more than two months for a blog is like starting over.

I can work with that.

It’s hard to condense a few months into a few thousand characters, and maybe that’s why I’ve been kind of quiet. When I finally sit down to write what I had in mind to write, the things that I wanted to say have already become a past-tense, and I’m always scrambling to shuffle the words into some sort of coherence. And so far, it’s been a fail. Hence the non-writing.

A few re-caps since my last real post:

  • Summer school is awesome and awful all at once. We have a much lighter workload, which means Sherlock Holmes happened: I am happy to report that the two-part, full volume did not disappoint. The British vernacular did get a bit stale after a while though; I think Doyle was tired of coming up with new stories towards the end.
  • The other side of the free-time! coin is the lack of urgency to actually study, which equals we have finals in two weeks, and we have no idea how to prepare for them. Perhaps study all of the things would be a fitting description…but that’s a lot of things.
  • I visited in Milwaukee for an über brief weekend, which consisted of lots of swimming, practicing my manual skills, and yo-yo-ing between Milwaukee and the house that I was staying in.
  • Survived my first, Category II hurricane. There had been plans to camp in the Outer Banks (OBX), but the OBX had to be evacuated and ergo, no camping. I did enjoy watching the squalls from the confines of a house. No major property or bodily damages.
  • I started dancing again, and will probably have more of a routine once fall semester starts.

It’s weird to be almost second year students since the current second years are going off to their clinicals shortly, and after their clinicals they will become the ones who knows all of the things. Which means in the interim time, my class should know most of the things. Yet I feel like I still don’t know many things at all. It’s almost been an entire year since I started all of this shenanigans of PT school, and it’s arguable been one of the hardest years of my life. I certainly did not expect it to be easy, but then, I never expected it to be as hard as it has been, in the many different ways it’s been hard.

In many ways school can be an alternative reality: we see the same people all day, every day, trying to comprehend the same things and apply it in the different ways that makes sense to each of us. There’s that social bubble which, if you make it, it’s great, and if you don’t, it’s much harder to find a niche since we spend so much time together, there’s not so much time to establish outside connections. And being a chronic outlier, I still don’t feel very well fitted. And it’s easy to lose perspective in school because I need to pass all of the assessments! and unfortunately, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. Then comes the freak-out moment of what if I have ruined my future because I wasn’t good enough?!

I got a reality check when I was bemoaning to someone back in Milwaukee on how grad school is strangling out the joy of life, he teased, well, Hannah, you should have stayed in Milwaukee, drank beer, watched football, and gotten fat. 

And he is probably right. I could have done something different, but I had chosen this. And the rest, I suppose, is to tread carefully. But always going onward.

National Geographic