Posted in Air, Assateague Island, Beach, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Play, Quotes, Spirit, Spring, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Wonder

Cooling off

Circling waves.
Circling waves.

I spin on the circle of wave upon wave of the sea.

~ Pablo Neruda

Waving hello.
Waving hello.

The calendar might not yet proclaim it to be summer, but the weather here sure does.  We are in the midst of a rather oppressive heat wave with no end in sight as far as I can tell.  Every time I step outside I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West after Dorothy throws a bucket of water on her, and I find myself thinking the lines from the 1939 film (“The Wizard of Oz”):

I’m melting, melting.  Ohhhhh, what a world, what a world…

As I slowly melt into the ground.  Ha.  Not really.  I feel as if I’m going to slowly melt into the ground, but it hasn’t happened yet.

We did get the rain we needed which has turned the great outdoors into the Great Steam Bath.  I was happy to see the gardens get the water they need, and I’ll just have to grin and bear the humidity that resulted from the occasional rain showers we’ve been getting over the past couple of days.

Under my umbrella.
Under my umbrella.

On Saturday, as predicted, M and I went to Assateague to enjoy some time at the beach where it was much cooler than it was here at home.  At first it didn’t seem that way, but the wind switched around so that we were getting a sea breeze and by the time we left that evening, we both felt refreshed.

Another wave.
Another wave.

The water was lovely.  According to the board at the lifeguard station, the water temperature was 60°F, but it felt warmer than that to me.  68°F maybe.  It was a little chilly at first, but once I went all-in, it was just right.  It was the coolest I’ve felt in a while, and if I could, I’d be there now swimming and floating and enjoying the ocean.

This is the place to be.
This is the place to be.

The waves were nice.  Big enough for body surfing with no rip currents or forceful undertows.  We arrived at low tide and left just before the evening’s high tide.

Relaxing.
Relaxing.

We did have a bit of excitement.  M and I were sitting on our beach chairs under our umbrella with the cooler we brought sitting between us.  I was reading, deep into the book, when M quietly said my name and I noticed a group of children standing beside M, pointing and giggling.  I looked behind me to see what they were pointing at and there was a big brown head, nosing around the cooler.

Looking for something to snack on.
Looking for something to snack on.

It was one of the wild horses.  I couldn’t think of what I was supposed to do in a situation when a wild horse is in such close proximity (we were practically nose to nose for a few seconds) so I sat there calmly until the horse walked away.  Turns out you are supposed to calmly back away at least the length of a bus, but I think if I had gotten up, it would have startled the horse and the idea is to avoid startling the horse.

Pause and scratch.
Pause and scratch.

This is the first time I’ve actually seen a wild horse on the beach.  Usually we seem them in the parking lots, campgrounds, and the marsh.  Or blocking traffic by standing in the middle of the road.

Moving along.
Moving along.

You are not supposed to feed the horses, of course.  Obviously this horse knows where to look for food either because he got lucky and accidentally discovered food in a cooler or on a beach blanket or someone has fed him.  He nosed around quite a few beach blankets and coolers during his short walk on the beach with no qualms at all about walking across towels and blankets.

Surely there must be something good to eat here.
Surely there must be something good to eat here.

I am guessing the lifeguards are not supposed to do anything about wandering horses because none of them came down from their chairs to assist the horse in moving away from people.  That makes sense to me.  Better to leave the lifeguards to their job of making sure folks are safe in the water.  They shouldn’t have to be horse wranglers too.

Let's try the next group and see if they have anything good to eat.
Let’s try the next group and see if they have anything good to eat.

There weren’t any rangers around at first, either.  One showed up later and convinced the horse that standing in the midst of a crowd of people was not his best choice in life.

Maybe down here...
Maybe down here…

Eventually the horse came to rest near the water.

Looking out to sea.
Looking out to sea.

He stood there for a while doing what we’d come there to do, and that’s cool off.  I’ve seen pictures of the horses standing on the beach near the water.  They have a film about the horses at the Assateague Island National Seashore visitor’s center, and the narrator informs you that during hot, buggy days, the horses like to stand on the beach and enjoy the breeze.  It’s a good way to get away from the bugs.  The water must have been too cold for this guy.  When it came up to his hooves, he stepped back quickly, not the least bit interested in going for a dip.

Lovely day.
Lovely day.

All in all, it was a great day.  We did get a glimpse of the Blue Angels (who were performing at the Ocean City Air Show) and hear the sonic booms from their planes.  I had Lulu with me (my little everything-proof point-and-shoot camera) so I was unable to get any good pictures of the planes.  Lulu is great in the water and on the sand, but she doesn’t have much zoom power.

I reckon that’s it on this hot, humid, overcast Monday.  Thanks for dropping by.  I don’t think it’s worth bothering to brave the heat and insects to go watch the sunset unless we watch from the pool.  Feel free to jump in with me.  Sunset this evening will be at 8:27.

A little girl watching the waves.
A little girl watching the waves.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Today’s joys:  Air conditioning; iced tea; the pool; light summer clothing; light summer meals.

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

38 thoughts on “Cooling off

  1. How amazing that a wild horse would be so confident and calm around so many people – surely this one has been around a lot of folks and has been offered some nibbles for his efforts? Our wild horses live up in the hill and mountain regions and are never really seen except by hunters and such like. Your photos are, as always, beautiful. I love the umbrella and the book shot [what are you reading here?] You are of course quite correct too in what you say about the temperature extremes. It is not yet Mid-Winter here, which is when winter for real kicks in, but we are living in the wettest, coldest winter weather I have experienced in my sojourn in this part of the country. Heavens knows what the next two months will bring!

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    1. Thank you, Pauline. 🙂 I think most of the wild horses on Assateague Island have been exposed to plenty of people. The rangers try to keep contact down so the horses will stay wild, but the horses are smart enough to know where to find food and I don’t think the “do not feed” rule is enforced much (the signs say you can be fined for it). I hope the weather improves for you soon. Maybe winter is just trying to blow it all out at once and get it over with.

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  2. Yeah, we’re melting here too. I’ve gotten so much more productive with my writing since I can’t sit outside for the whole morning anymore!

    Thanks for the horse pictures and story. I think it sounds cool to have been there. Much more fun than watching the little crabs.

    Nancy

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    1. Oh, watching the little crabs is fun too, Nancy. But you’re right. Not quite as much fun as the wild horses. I hope your writing is going well. You reminded me that today is writing day for me (I’m doing an at-home workshop type of thing). I had so much going on I’d forgotten. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Definitely not an average day at the beach! Pretty novel to have wild horses roaming over your beach blanket, nosing through your lunch… and I thought gulls were bad! 😉 It’s so nice you are so close to the beach, it looked like a gorgeous day and I love the colors of your umbrella. 🙂 I’m at the stage where I spend most of my time in the shade. But it sure would be nice to hear the surf and breathe in the salt air. We never even made it to the ocean last summer.
    Reading about your heat makes me happy to be up here in MA, where it is 60 today and drizzly. Perfect for the plants and me, too. 😉 A day off!

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    1. I envy you a cool and drizzly day off, Eliza. 🙂 The heat has been turned WAY up here today. I spend most of my time in the shade, too, if I can. I never tan, always burn, and detest wearing sunscreen (although I do put in on for trips to the beach or when I’m going to be in the sun for long periods of time). I wear the zinc stuff, but even that sometimes burns my eyes.

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      1. Ach, blonde hair, light skin, right? 😦 I am fortunate to have a lot of melanin in my skin, so I get a good base tan from gardening. But this year I got Lyme and the doxycycline makes my skin more sensitive so I’m trying to be careful when I’m usually quite careless!

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    1. Thank you, Anna. 🙂 They try not to let the horses mingle (usually a ranger will chase the horse or horses off), but they are allowed (mostly) free run of the place so it’s bound to happen. Add to that people who insist on feeding or mingling with the horses, and the horses become less “wild.” That said, the horses will bite and kick so I take the warnings to keep a good distance between us seriously. I was surprised when we arrived at the park, and there was a woman trying to get a horse to follow her from the parking lot to the beach. I suspect she’s the one who brought this horse over to explore the beach blankets and coolers.

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    1. No, not as bad as a bear, Lisa. 🙂 We used to vacation in the mountains of West Virginia, and black bears were pretty common around the cabins looking for food. They would even come inside the cabins (that didn’t happen to us, but to the folks staying in a cabin next door to us).

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  4. “One showed up later and convinced the horse that standing in the midst of a crowd of people was not his best choice in life.”

    That made me laugh out loud, as did several of the pictures of the horse, just so nonchalant, like…whassup, folks? It’s such a tiny horse…it looks like a big dog in some of your shots.

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    1. I was surprised by how small they look, David, the first time I saw them. They are compact powerhouses. Or powerhorses. 🙂 And the way that horse just meandered around checking out blankets and coolers was really something. “Nonchalant” is an excellent word for it.

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    1. That made me nervous, too, CM. The parents (mostly dads) were right there, letting the kids go up close enough to pet the horse. In the women’s bathrooms, they have posters up showing pictures of people who have been bitten or kicked by one of the wild horses. I’m told by M they don’t have the posters in the men’s room so maybe that’s why the dads don’t realize that they should take all the signage about “don’t pet, feed, tease, or attract the horses or you will be fined” seriously.

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  5. Great picture and description of the wild horse, and your pictures of the beach are so very peaceful. Hot and humid with intermittent showers here east of Cleveland today also. (I just dozed off half way through typing this comment. Maybe I got too relaxed looking at your ocean pictures). 😊 time for bed I think.

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    1. I’m glad they were peaceful enough to make you doze off, Skip. That’s a good thing. Being at the beach always brings me a sense of peace, too. 🙂

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  6. Oddly enough it’s turned quite chilly out on our coast. What fun having the horse poking around. Out here we only have saddle horses with folks riding them on the beach. I rather like the wild version better.

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  7. Well THAT was cool! Literally too I suppose. I have never thought about a wild horse on a beach. Gotta say that’s the most unique beach story I’ve heard in a long time! LOVE that last shot of the little girl and the wave. Priceless.

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  8. What a beauty, that horse! A unique experience, Robin – thanks for sharing it. The waves look wonderful; we used to live at the beach and I don’t miss it until I see really great photos of the water – then I want to dive in!

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  9. That sounds like a perfect day at the beach! I can’t wait to get to Assateague in just a few more weeks! I think Sara is the most excited, although she was a bit disappointed to find out that you’re supposed to keep your distance from the horses and that you’re not allowed to feed them.

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    1. I think you’re going to really enjoy Assateague, Michaela. I’ll email you about that soon. Tell Sara the main reason they don’t want people getting close and/or feeding the horses is because if they get used to people, they won’t be wild horses anymore and there is beauty in letting them be free and wild. (Actually, they’re not “wild.” They’re “feral,” but “wild” sounds better.) You could go to the Pony Centre in Chincoteague (which won’t be all that far from where you’re staying) for a close-up look at the horses. The horses on the Chincoteague end (Virginia) of Assateague Island are owned by the Chincoteague fire department, and are usually not as easy to see in the wild because they keep them fenced way out away from the trails, but at the Pony Centre in town you can pet them and learn more about them. Has Sara read any of the “Misty” books?

      The other thing about going south to Chincoteague, if this interests you, is Wallops Island NASA Flight Facility. The visitor’s center is on the way to Chincoteague. There is also a lighthouse on the Virginia end of Assateague Island, and some of the trails are quite nice. The northern (Maryland) end has nice trails, too, and I prefer the beaches there over the beaches at Chincoteague. If you do go to Chincoteague, be sure to check out the bay side of the beach for the horseshoe crabs. We saw hundreds of them there last year although I’m not sure if they’ll still be there in a few weeks. I think it’s mating season now and that’s when they gather.

      The town of Chincoteague has quite a few good restaurants, too.

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      1. Thank you for all the info.! We might do both sides of the island. One in the morning and the other after lunch, it sounds like a really nice place.
        I did tell Sara the reason for not feeding or getting too close to the horses. I asked her about the books and she said she hasn’t read them (but she seemed interested). I’ll keep an eye out for your e-mail, and in the meantime I’ll take some notes from your comment 🙂

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  10. What a wonderful day! I haven’t had my first beach day of the season yet, but looking forward to being there eventually. I can’t even imagine having a wild horse nosing around my cooler, lol!

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    1. I couldn’t imagine it either, Karma, until it happened. lol! It was startling to turn around and see that big head hanging just over my right shoulder.

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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