As one of those born and raised far from the coast, but having lived in Portland for the last 29 years, I have come to enjoy taking time to sit and experience the many pleasures the waterfront has to offer. On one such occasion, I was in South Portland and took an hour or so to visit Bug Light Park, next to the public boat ramp.

The day was warm and humid with temperatures forecast to be in the high 80s. The cool, salty breeze blowing in from the east kept the stifling heat found just a little further inland at bay.

I enjoy learning about the history of the places I go to, so I was drawn to the information provided by the Liberty Ship Memorial display and information walls.

Located right next to the parking area, it outlines what this area of South Portland looked like during World War II. The hustle and bustle of shipbuilding would have been very different from the current soft rumble of diesel engine pumps aboard the oil tanker docked at the Portland Pipeline Pier. However, it did give an authentic air to the place as I wandered along the exhibits.

After the memorial, I settled myself in a folding chair in the middle of the wide lawn that stretches from the parking lot to the water’s edge and took in the scenic vista that is Portland Harbor and Casco Bay.

From this perch, my attention focused on the squat lighthouse at the end of the breakwater, the namesake for the park I was enjoying, Bug Light.

Situated at the end of the granite walkway, Bug Light stands as the doorman to the inner part of the port. Clad in its gray, rough-cut granite shoes, adorned with a sparkling white, cast-iron waistcoat, and capped off with its black top hat housing the light, this icon of navigational history provides an inspiring sight for all who come to the park or pass by on the water.

One can only imagine the history this light, and its wooden predecessor, have seen. From wooden sailing ships to great steel vessels powered by diesel engines, to war upon seemingly endless war.

Regardless, it stands stoically facing the ocean and welcoming those who enter, and bidding adieu to those who leave. In my daydreaming, I could even see the light tip its hat to the tour cruise as it passed by and the guide spoke about it.

As for additional history, from the park I could see Fort Gorges, Fort Scammel on House Island, Spring Point Light at Fort Preble, the Portland Observatory and Fort Allen Park.

So, if you are looking for something to do this summer, remember what fishermen and lobstermen do. They cast their nets and set their traps in the ocean to provide us with its bounty.

Why not cast your net, or set your trap, in the ocean of Maine history?

– Special to the Telegram