The wild ponies of Reasons running free along the wind swept beaches of a small island off the coast of North Carolina. I’ve been there. Ferried by a catamaran, the sun glowing, the sea a brilliant blue, as the sail stretched taut with the wind’s breath. We pulled ashore and securing the boat walked quietly up a dune face until we neared the crest. Lying stretched along the sand we watched the waves beating at the shore as the sun baked our skin. Before long the lullaby of the sea enticed us and we slept.
I was the first to awaken pulled from my dreams by a snort and warm blow of air. Moving slowly my fingers brushed the hand of my companions as I stared upward into deep brown eyes covered by shaggy hair. I lay there mesmerized by the play of light within the soft brown, the wiriness of long lashes, and the bits of sand caught amid the bristle on the snout. Her head nodded slightly then dropped to rip grass from a small tuft nearby. My companion’s hand tightened into mine and with an economy of motion we slowly sat up and wondered at the mare’s nearness.
It was timeless, then terrifying as we heard the loud snort and call of a larger beast. Our mare’s head turned her body following as we looked beyond her to the black male upon the dune ridge. His nostrils flared, his front hoof thudded, his tail whipped as his ire increased with our nearness.
My companion’s hand tugged mine, but I was unmoved hypnotized by the stallion’s beauty. It would be much later that I would learn his name was Dionysus.
We sailed home as the sun set, light bleeding into vibrant reds, purples and gold across the horizon. As beautiful as the sunset was, my thoughts were still back on the dune face to face with the most beautiful creature I have ever seen.
Descendants from horses that survived wrecked galleons, and abandonment by the Spanish, these island ponies had earned the right to call this small island their home. They endured rugged weather, hurricanes, snow storms, shortage of food and disease but still survived and grew in beauty – earning the respect of old time ‘Bankers’ and the new alike – pristine in their freedom…