日期:2012-04-11 13:24


IN 1989 Edward Kennedy tried to stop time. The United States Coast Guard was preparing to automate and remove all remaining personnel from the old lighthouse in Boston Harbour. But Kennedy, a liberal senator from a family with deep roots in Boston, sponsored a bill requiring the Boston Light to be permanently manned. And so it soldiered on for nearly another decade, stubbornly holding to the old ways. Built in 1783, it is one of America’s oldest lighthouses (the oldest was its predecessor, which the British blew up as they slunk home in June 1776). In 1998 time and Senator Kennedy reached a compromise: the light itself was at last automated, but it remains the last one with resident Coast Guard keepers.
The Coast Guard took charge of America’s more than 1,000 lighthouses in 1939, when it absorbed the United States Lighthouse Service. But it has been slowly letting them go. In 2000 the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act allowed the sale or transfer of lighthouses deemed “excess to service requirements” by the Coast Guard to private entities. Since then the federal government has moved 84 lighthouses of the 600 that were left off its books. Most have been transferred to local governments or non-profits, but 28 have been auctioned off to private individuals.
The sad truth is that satellite navigation has made many lighthouses surplus to requirements. Shifting commercial trends have done their damage, too. More than 1,500 ships lie wrecked off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but today these islands depend far more on tourism than on maritime trade.
Still, some fishermen enjoy navigating by light rather than satellite. Sometimes they forget to take their navigation systems on board. Bett Padgett, who heads the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, which petitioned the federal government for funds to restore Bodie Island’s once-crumbling lighthouse, warns of solar flares knocking out satellites.
然而,有许多渔民仍然喜欢利用灯塔而不是卫星来导航,所以有时候,他们会忘记带导航系统。外班克斯列岛灯塔协会(该协会曾请求联邦政府拨款整修一度年久失修的Bodie灯塔)会长Bett Padgett提醒人们太阳耀斑会让卫星暂时失灵。

All that is true, but defending lighthouses as a matter of utility surely misses the point.。 Of course, lighthouses draw tourists, who spend money; one informal study estimated that restoring the Bodie Island lighthouse, which is scheduled to open to visitors for the first time in April 2013, would add $8.7m in total income to the regional economy.But for Ms Padgett, preserving them is a way “to give our children and grandchildren a feel for what happened in this place a hundred or two hundred years ago.” Men built them by hand to stand watch over the sea. Lighthouses remind people that as mariners battled what Walt Whitman called “the wild unrest, the snowy, curling caps—that inbound urge and urge of waves, Seeking the shores forever,” someone was watching over them, and wishing them safely home.
上面说的没错,但从实用性角度为灯塔辩护,显然没有说到关键之处。当然,灯塔吸引了大批来此消费的游客;一项非官方调查预计修整 Bodie灯塔将为当地经济带来总计870万美元的收入,该灯塔预计于2013年4月首次向游客开放。但在Padgett女士看来,保存好灯塔是让“我们子孙感受一两百年来这里变迁”的一种方式。人们建造灯塔来让它们守候大海。灯塔让人们想到,当水手们与沃尔特.惠特曼笔下“那永不宁静的奔腾,那白浪般的滚卷的浪峰----那向陆地急推又急推的浪头“搏斗时,有人在灯塔上眺望,盼望他们安全归来。

  • predecessorn. 前辈,前任,原有事物
  • absorbedadj. 一心一意的;被吸收的 v. 吸收;使全神贯注(
  • liberaladj. 慷慨的,大方的,自由主义的 n. 自由主义者,
  • commercialadj. 商业的 n. 商业广告
  • decaden. 十年
  • stubbornlyadv. 倔强地;顽固地
  • urgevt. 驱策,鼓励,力陈,催促 vi. 极力主张 n.
  • surplusadj. 多余的,过剩的 n. 过剩,剩余物,盈余
  • shiftingn. 转移 adj. 不断改换的 动词shift的现在分
  • permanentlyadv. 永久地