July 30, 2010

Postcard: Old Baldy

Lighthouse on Smith Island, (Bald Head Island) North Carolina
(Unused - divided back, 1940s-1950s)

The coast of North Carolina is known as a ship graveyard of the Atlantic. Lighthouses along this coast have long served to give warning of the treacherous waters found there. On the southern end at a prominent headland jutting into the Atlantic Ocean is Bald Head Island (also known as Smith Island) and Old Baldy Lighthouse.

Bald Head Island (also known as Smith Island) is located off the coast of Southport, North Carolina where the Cape Fear River, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean come together. Old Baldy is North Carolina's oldest standing lighthouse. Built in 1817, it was the second lighthouse to be built on the island. The bricks from the first lighthouse (completed in 1795) were reused for Old Baldy's construction.

The 110-foot brick octagonal lighthouse has a base diameter of 36 feet with walls 5 feet thick, decreasing to 2 feet at the top. A set of spiraling stairs takes you from the base to a platform under the distinctive offset lantern room. Entrance into the lantern room is by a narrow ladder through a small opening in the floor.

Bald Head Island was the site of Fort Holmes during the Civil War. The fort was used to protect the Cape Fear River and the port of Wilmington. Old Baldy remained active until 1935. It was used as a radio beacon from World War II until 1958. Old Baldy is open to the public today and a replica of the 1850's lighthouse keeper's cottage stands next to it and houses a history museum.

Lighthouses have long served as navigation aids to ships piloting coastal and inland waterways. Old Baldy stands as a reminder of the role of a lighthouse and its duty serving the area known as Cape Fear.

— Dan Hardison

Also available:
Visit Windscape Studio at flickr.com for photos of Old Baldy.

July 23, 2010


Dreams fulfilled
and unrealized
Circumstances won
and lost
Emotions touched
and shattered
Observations beheld
and fate endured
Life experienced
and knowledge gained
Memories all

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Columbia, Tennessee

July 16, 2010

The Water Lily

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Wilmington, North Carolina

World Haiku Association, June 2010

July 2, 2010

The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written,
I am not done with my changes.

Stanley Kunitz
From his book "The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden"

Photo by Dan Hardison
Airlie Gardens
Wilmington, North Carolina

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