On the drive back from our daytrip to Ocracoke we stopped to see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It was the highlight of our day. The day was hot and full of long hours in the heat. Arriving at the lighthouse to find only three or four cars in the parking lot was a relief. We had the place practically to ourselves.
Standing in the ever-growing shadow of the lighthouse, the warm summer air cooled around us and time stood still. Our two families were really in the moment. We weren't thinking about how hot the day, or how long the drive. Instead we just stood in awe of the monolithic, spiral-striped lighthouse—the toy-like stripes mocking its height and drawing your eye up at the same time.
At the end of that day, our detour to Cape Hatteras as it turns out had nothing at all to do with seeing the lighthouse. But just as it's been doing for over 140 years, it guided weary travelers—in this case to a place they could just be.