Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wild like the Ponies of Assateague Island

There they were, an usual and amazing sight: wild ponies simply hanging out on a beach like nobody's business.  I had been down to the bustling seaside destination of Ocean City, Maryland, many times.  In my visits, I had learned about Assateague Island directly to the South and the wild ponies that inhabit its quiet stretch of shores.  I had read brochures featuring nature tours and sight seeing excursions of the over 300 ponies roaming wild there since the early 1600's.  I had found it interesting to learn of the theory that a Spanish galleon ship containing a cargo of ponies had shipwrecked offshore.  I had considered someday making the long voyage down to Chincoteague, Virginia, to see the Annual Pony Swim where, in order to control the population, some 150 ponies are rounded up and herded across the narrow channel to be sold for auction.  And yet, for one reason or another, be it the Ocean City boardwalk or the draw of cocktails on the bayside, I had never ventured to see the ponies.

You would think on a bachelorette beach getaway weekend, the ponies would be the last thing I'd be seeing.  And yet, on a boating outing intended for more of a bayside bar tour, we ventured across the inlet to Assateague ... and there were the ponies!

What struck me is that when I think of ponies, the image isn't anywhere near of them roaming wild.  Rather, I recall buying tickets for my children to ride a pony around a ring at a local fair.  In the same way, when I think of the fine ladies partaking in last weekend's bachelorette beach getaway, the word "wild" doesn't necessarily come to mind.  Many of us are wives, many of us are mothers, many of us are professionals, spending our days caring for the needs of others in some capacity. 

Today, we're all back to the lives we temporarily left behind.  But for one weekend, we were a pack of wild ponies hanging out on the beach like nobody's business.  And, besides feeling mildly hungover, I think we're all better for the experience.

Share your getaway stories and destinations. 

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