The skipper had taken the night watch. He wasn’t able to do it often, since taking the day to sleep meant he would inevitably be roused by the hundred little issues that could befall a sailing ship with a green crew. But when the almanac said that there would be a full moon and the clouds were just right, he would stand watch at the bottom of the night and watch the second-largest lamp to shine on the world reflect brilliantly off its largest mirror.

It took him back, in a way that nothing else could, to the nights he had spent on the bluffs as a boy, watching the lighthouse and the moon and looking for any sign of his father’s ship gliding into port. It was a sense of wonder that didn’t come easily to anyone who’d ever had men under their command, much less as far from home as the skipper’s ship tended to wander.

But it was one of his only pleasures, and his easiest.

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