It was an extremely warm December morning.  The kayakers had been watching the weather.  No need to bundle up for this years Polar Bear paddle.  It would be in the 70’s by the time they returned.  Since they were pushing off at 6:00 a.m. dressing in layers was the key.  It is easier to take a few layers off as they go instead of putting it on.

The weather on past Polar Bear paddles had not been so cooperating.  One year the paddle lasted about 15 minutes.  Between rain, mixed with a little snow, wind out of the Northwest and waves that could easily swamp a boat it was not a good idea to try and find the sunrise.  Sunrise!?  It wasn’t going to happen anyway that day.  This group of guys was not accustomed to backing out of a kayaking challenge.

This year the temperature was not a problem.  There was zero rain in the forecast.  The water looked as calm as could be.  Not sure what anyone can see at 6 a.m. when the sunrise wasn’t scheduled until 7:20.  All indications were for a smooth paddle.

There was only one problem.  Even in the Lowcountry when the temperatures are abnormally warm and the water is a bit on the cold side there is a natural occurrence.  If anyone is smarter than a 5th grader or can look out their morning window they will know the nature of the problem.  Fog!  Thick fog!

Getting into the 14 foot kayak and pushing off into the fogged in waterway is not always the best idea.  A normal flashlight is of no value.  If they kept too close to the shore line they ran the risk of being beached by a boat’s wake.  If they went out into the middle there was no way to notify an oncoming boat of their presence.  The trick was to stay kind of close to the shore but not too close.  Paddling a bit blind it was a good idea to keep the eyes pealed and the ears tuned in to any noises of a boat motor.  If anyone were to go over they better have their personal flotation device (life vest for you old-timers) on and buckled.

Off they went into the dark and ominous fog.  Each of the adventurers had kayaked to Cockspur Lighthouse before.  Leaving the Lazaretto Creek Boat Ramp take a left and proceed down the creek and under the Route 80 bridge.  Right in front of you sits the lighthouse just off of Daymark Island and Fort Pulaski. On sunny clear days there is no problem.  On dark mornings with rolling thick fog it is a different story.

No problem, it was a lighthouse.  The website said the lighthouse was relit in 2007 for historical reasons.  The beacon will guide us right to it.  That’s what they all say.  This morning due to destruction caused by Hurricane Irma there was no light in the lighthouse.  There was no guiding beacon.

Fortunately the group had been there before.  It was there.  As the sun rose (never to be seen on this morning) visibility increased and the Cockspur Lighthouse was shrouded in fog for some outstanding photographs.  One large boat did pass.  It was never seen.  Only heard and felt as the waves pushed the kayaks near the large bolder sea wall.  Nobody got hurt.  Nobody was turned over and everyone was safe and sound.  A few pictures and a few dolphins and the morning was quite a success.  Once back at the landing it was time for breakfast at the Breakfast Club on Tybee Island.

In many ways the short 4.1 trip was a normal foggy kayak run with no real safety concerns.  While the novice may not want to venture alone in the dark fog it was a blast for the seasoned paddlers.

As I paddled out of Lazaretto Creek enjoying the fog effect and the exercise I was amazed at the lack of light.  There was no light whatsoever to keep anyone off the rocky seawall.  We didn’t even see the Tybee Lighthouse light which as only a few miles at best to the south.  Maybe we are reliant on GPS systems and such now a days.  However, the absence of light always makes one wonder.  Darkness is the absence of light. Darkness is actually the natural state with light invading it’s domain.  Add fog and you got darkness you can feel.

As I prayed for safety entering the boat channel to the darkened lighthouse I thought of life as a Christian.  Christians are to be the light that shines in the darkness of our world.  Jesus said we are the light of the world.  He didn’t say he was.  He said we were.  We are to be the light to the praise of the Father.

The light was not to be hidden.  Indications are the true light of God living in a person cannot be hidden as a city cannot be hidden.  Jesus said we don’t light a candle to hide it under a bowl.  The candle is lit to guide us and others.  He commands his followers, “let your light shine before men.”  Why?  So that not only can they hear of the grace and love of Jesus; they can see it!

Our world seems to be getting darker.  I’m not sure it is any darker then before.  Possibly it is the lack of light emitting from those who claim belief in the son of God.  Remember, darkness is the natural state.  It is the absence of light.  As we enter 2018 instead of complaining and worrying about the darkness (it’s always there) our purpose is to be the light.  Once there is light others can find their way.  No need to worry.  Keep paddling.

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