Climbing the tower
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Before I even arrived that summer, I’d thought of hiking through the coast towns. Repeating their names — Pizā, Pitrõg, Sǟnag, Vaid — felt mystical. Maybe like an incantation uttered to Mierjemā, Ocean Mother. I couldn’t be sure. The Livonian Festival that rounded out the weeks of the Livonian youth summer camp had ended. By coincidence I’d overheard the camp teachers talking about a plan to explore the coast and its communities. Soon I became part of their group, and tonight we were on our way.
Arriving in Pizā, the last light of the evening was already fading. We dropped off our things and walked on to the lighthouse, the fixture of the town and the source of its Latvian name, Miķeļtornis, or Michael’s Tower. We walked swatting at the air. That night it seemed as if all the mosquitoes in the world had converged on us in this one little town on the coast.
Our way cast ever darker by the vanishing light of the day, the walk to the lighthouse followed a meandering path. A path that took us through what seemed like mainly front yards and underbrush. I kept close to my friends walking ahead of me, so not to get lost. There was no way that I was going to miss my chance to see what the world looked like from high atop the tower.
We climbed the stairs to the top of the lighthouse. Looking west, the sun had already set, the clouds, the slate grey of the sea, hugged the horizon.
I turned north, towards the Estonian island of Saaremaa. At its southern tip there is a lighthouse. Every night from the beach I would watch it blinking at me from across the open water. Its intermittent light twinkling, just like the stars in the deep black velvet of the night sky overhead. That evening I was lucky enough to catch the flash of the lighthouse, just as its lamp turned to face us.
The evening sky and sea from the observation deck of the lighthouse.
Looking east, the forests have grown dark as the coast curves away into the night.