For Nothing Was Simply One Thing

“She belonged to a different age, but being so entire, so complete, would always stand up on the horizon, stone-white, eminent, like a lighthouse marking some past stage on this adventurous, long, long voyage, this interminable — this interminable life.”
Author: Virginia Woolf

Traveling the  Oregon Coast Highway three miles north of Newport Oregon is one of my favorite places, Yaquina Head. A coastal headland of hard basalt cliffs and coves, it  has for an estimated 4,000 years been a place that beckons.

Native Americans, including the Alsea Tribe, came for the mile long access to open sea. An area abundant with game, marine animals, mussels, seals, fish, seaweeds, marine gardens, it was recognized to be a place of of both physical and spiritual renewal. It is said to have been named for the female Native American Chief, Yaquina.

Located at Yaquina Head is the charmer, Yaquina Head Lighthouse .Built  1871-1873, using  370,000 bricks from the Patent Brick Company in San Raphael California to create a ninety three foot, doubled walled, one hundred fourteen iron step spiral climb  to the top beauty of a beacon.The tallest Lighthouse in Oregon,  the light visible for 19 miles. Chief Lighthouse Keeper, Fayette Crosby first lit the wicks on August 20 of the lard burning fixed white light, with a change to using mineral oil in 1888.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse began to attract many new visitors during and following it’s construction, with the Lighthouse Keepers adding an extra duty in conducting scheduled tours in addition to their maintaining the Lighthouse round the clock.

The Yaquina Head uses its original 1868 French-made, 1st order, Fixed Fresnel lens,[1] Fully automated in 1966, Yaquina Head Lighthouse continues to guide sailors safely using it’s own  flash  pattern of light a pulsing 2 seconds on, 2 seconds off, 2 seconds on, 14 seconds off, 24 hours a day, a steady reliable method to recognize Yaquina Head from air or offshore. It is delightful to climb up the lighthouse stairs and be able to look at the mechanics of the light.

On clear days, Yaquina Head Lighthouse offers  a recharge, stand up straight, realign your spine kind of view of the Pacific Ocean Coastline. It is absolutely the best place to watch Gray Whales. There are ‘summer resident’ who have chosen the Oregon Coast rather than the Berring Sea for summering,  December thru January, Grays migrate from the Berring south to Baja Mexico to have sex and birth babies, then March and April they pass by Yaquina back to the Berring.  I once was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon viewing twenty one passing Grays, simply a thrill…but so many others have told me of a hundred or more passing by during peak migration season.

Dramatic moods in coastal weather can just as easily offer a visit featuring gray green waves breaking on the lighthouse, with the wind and rain howling about as cathartic, eerie, exhilarating, introspective, sun sets unnoticed into night and the storm continues. Or the sky clears and the sunset dazzles, The Lighthouse steadfast throughout, a sense of safety and calm within.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse. is part of the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, with a first rate Interpretive Center, and tide-pools along the base of the cliffs teaming with colorful creatures and sea gardens for guests to explore. Whether a first time visitor, or frequent apparition, I encourage you to enjoy the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area,

“So that was the Lighthouse, was it?

No, the other was also the Lighthouse.                               For nothing was simply one thing”
― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

May each and everyone have a peaceful, joyful  and safe week.


  1. Wonderful photos and an enjoyable story.

    On a side note: Our patio bricks came from the McNears’ foundry in San Rafael—still in operation and going strong. The Remillard Bros. brick house is still located just down the road from the San Quentin prison. These days the original buildings still stand, but have been turned into an office complex and restaurant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your very interesting contribution to the story. The origin of building materials to structures, and those materials other uses is so interesting to me. A web of connections. All my best to you.


  2. Just beautiful, JoHanna! Your images and the interesting history of this beautiful place drew me in. Lighthouses and their keepers are such a wonderful part of our nation’s story. Oh, the stories this special lighthouse could tell!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My ‘fantasy adventure’ would be to sail about the planet on a substantial but not too much to handle for two or three crew sail boat, with a substantial purse, books, stocked galley, musical instruments, mostly good weather, and visit/photograph Lighthouses.

      I’ve been blessed to see quite a few over my lifetime, their differences, histories, and variations always a surprise.

      Thank you for your lovely comments. I really appreciate them.🐞


  3. Lovely post. Lighthouses are fascinating. Do you remember reading as a kid about the Cornish Wreckers who used to put lights on the shore to mimic the lighthouse so they could lure mariners onto the rocks so they could scavenge from the wrecks?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much for your contribution to this post. Just so interesting. I have heard of ‘the Wreckers,’ but you are right….not since a child. Would not be surprised to find that there is a newer version somewhere operating today on the planet. Goodness, I hope I am wrong.

      If I were in a Sedona metaphysical/metaphorical state of mind I might suggest that this is an example of Light being used for less than positive purposes.

      But alas I spent the day in Flagstaff.

      ‘Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie,
      Watch the wall, my darling, while the gentlemen go by’
      (Kipling: “The Smuggler’s Song”)

      The Website, Historic UK cited particularly gruesome detail about the Wreckers:

      “The law in those days deemed it illegal to claim salvage from a wrecked ship if anyone was alive on it. Therefore, the law virtually condemned any survivors found to death! There are legends that lights would be tied to horses tails in order to lure the ships onto the rocks. This was a rare occurrence as it was found more successful to light the beacons on the shore and then hopefully the ship would founder.”

      You can read more at:

      Once again, thank you so much for showing up with such interesting history.


      1. You could say that these days there are many other ways of luring people to their own ruin for the profit of others – shonky financial advisers, property dealers, stockbrokers, purveyors of cures for cancer, online dating scams…..And you don’t even have to stay up all night in a howling wind and get very wet.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I lived in Portland one summer as a child. I remember visiting many places including Tillamook. I do remember visiting a lighthouse but I can’t say if it was this one or not. It’s an endless summer I remember fondly. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An ‘endless summer remembered fondly’ is a most excellent experience that I would hope everyone has, and how great you had one in Oregon! Thank you for contributing to the conversation. All my best to you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And the trip would be well worth it! It really is unforgettable, and seeing the whales, especially when they are migrating really brings a sense of optimism to a day. Great to hear from you, Sarah, and give Choppy a hug from me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Johanna, oh, how I wish I could visit this area! Yaquina looks stunning – there is often something haunting, dramatic and also reassuring about lighthouses. Love the story behind this one and the area; to see one whale in the wild would be fantastic, twenty a wonder. Thank you for sharing Yaquina with us and your photographs lets us enjoy the trip viscerally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think one of the best aspects of Oregon is the priority placed on the public having access to the coastline and beaches, and the amount of care and concern given to creating educational centers that foster an understanding of the area. With equal parts open and wilderness areas. The tide pools are often as spectacular as seeing the whales. Always good to hear from you, Annika.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Simply fantastic writing, JoHanna, you have such a turn of phrase. What a tranquil-sounding place; you make me want to go clamber up to see the whales, then camp on the shore and take a nap. “To The Lighthouse” is simply one of my favorite books, a languorous, rich, sensual read.

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    1. I often fret that my lack of ‘proper’ structure and word use, and tilted perspective of the world are best kept to myself. You encourage me with your words of praise and know I appreciate every one of them immensely. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely, informative post about Oregon. I just returned from your neck of the woods and visited one of my sisters in Washington State where we made music together. It was so peaceful among the majestic, tall pines. I miss it already. Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I consider people making music, I always think of Oregon. I’ve always thought that the climate and topography have inspired and attracted creative people.

      Thank you for your visit. Always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s a distinctive-looking place. It’d make a great setting for a scary movie. I’m not really a believer in ghosts, but a few good stories attached to a place can really give it a kind of spooky charm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Outer Banks of NC is just a beautiful area, one I am familiar with…including several of the Lighthouses. Most familiar with the one located on Ocacroke. Loved riding the ferries too, just perfect day kind of activity.
      May this hurricane season be a calm one for you.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

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