I went down to the shore
And saw the blue. blue sky.
I saw a shell. I put it to my side.
Then I saw a boat far away.
Then it sailed far beyond my sight.
When Lynae Ashe (11) writes a poem about shores, shells, and ships, or draws a picture of a beautiful red and white lighthouse, she isn’t remembering a vacation. She’s celebrating her own front yard!
The Ashes live on a wooded island on the Inside Passage to Alaska, between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. Lynae’s father, Ted, is a lighthouse keeper on a point of land that juts into Queen Charlotte Straight. Seals and killer whales sometimes surface in the cold blue waters of the strait. Eagles fish off the point and eat their catch on driftwood perches. Fishing boats and cruise ships sail past. Deer often come out of the forest behind the Ashe home and graze on the lawn. At Christmastime a Coast Guard helicopter sets down, and out jumps Santa with his bag of gifts and goodies.
Lynae goes to elementary school in Sointula, five miles through the woods. To attend church, the family takes a ferry from Sointula to Port McNeil on Vancouver Island. Brother Ashe is the branch president, and Lynae’s mother, Karen, is the Primary president. Because the lighthouse must never be left untended, Brother and Sister Ashe can seldom go to church at the same time. But church often comes to them, because the point has become the branch’s unofficial “backyard.” Primary activities are held there, and so are branch parties, which include barbecues and fishing derbies.
Lynae loves to go salmon fishing with her dad. They snoop out schools of fish with a fish-finder, then troll with a down-rigger that takes the lure deep to where the big ones lurk.
She lovingly tends her two-year-old brother, Colin, and enjoys doing things with her sister, Michelle, 15, and her older brother, Brent, 19. Once the family was in their boat just off the point when a pod of killer whales surfaced nearby. One swam right under the boat! Brother Ashe videotaped the experience, and they sometimes watch it on television. Lynae also has fun with two land mammals: the family cat—Cool Cat (C. C. for short)—and Missy the dog.
Lynae often goes beachcombing for pretty rocks and shells, and she builds huts and rafts from driftwood. Once she went fishing from one of her rafts and caught a flounder and two halibut.
Lynae loves sports and competes in cross-country track and basketball at school. Last year she finished in first place in her school and third place in the district in cross-country. In basketball she is so quick that she often steals the ball from larger players. After one theft, a flustered opponent asked, “Where did that little blonde come from?”
Her enthusiasm extends even to her chores—sweeping the floor, emptying the dishwasher, folding clothes, dumping compost, weeding the vegetable garden, and helping her dad mow the lawn. When she’s bored, she often starts cleaning the house without even being asked.
Some of her many hobbies are cross-stitching, latch hooking, writing, and drawing. Her dad is teaching her to play the guitar. She especially loves to dance. When she hears music, she often just starts dancing. She’s also an avid reader. The Boxcar Children books and Archie comic books are some of her favorite things to read.
She has many friends who are not members of the Church, and almost every week she invites some of them to Church or Primary activities.
She is usually the first person to bear her testimony on fast Sunday, even when the family is visiting another ward or branch. “When I bear my testimony, I feel warm inside.”
When fog rolls in around the point, the lighthouse foghorns automatically blast a deep two-note warning. From far away, it is a mournful sound; from the point, it is deafening. But when the foghorn is silent and no boats are passing, the only sounds are of lapping water and wind in the tall pines. It is a world of great peace. Several years ago Lynae experienced another kind of peace after her father was seriously injured by a falling tree. “I was scared,” she recalls, “but I felt better after I prayed. I always feel better after I pray.”