In case you have not noticed, I am not Miss Anna Gray. No. Not at all. My name is Olivia and I blog eclectically at oh, horsefeathers with fashion, photographs, and many words.
Anna requested that we do posts relating to vacation or travel, but that topic was left open to interpretation. I thought about it for a while... my family doesn't take many vacations, sadly (I'm a travel bug, a Gypsy at heart, so I am constantly scheming how to get my driver's license a year early or somehow obtain a pilot's license and a small aeroplane). We did live in the Caribbean aboard our small sailboat for two years, though (see the story and a much younger photo of yours truly here), so after much deliberation I decided to share a story from that period of my life.
|the ponies from a safe distance.|
Enter three other young girls. Their respective families and sailboats were traveling the same route as we were, and we met up several times. In this sea-Gypsy lifestyle they were my closest equivalent of best friends. The adults were on board their boats and we four marauders set off to shore. Looking back on it, I'm quire proud of my parents for allowing a gang of girls (ranging from ages seven to ten) off on their own. We meandered around on the trails for a while. We knew there were wild ponies on the island — think Misty of Chincoteague — and we were determined to catch a glimpse.
I'm not sure why this particular event stuck in my mind. It was not really that adventurous. It was not even terrifying. We were not even in the Caribbean yet. (For contrast: later, on a voyage from Trinidad to Panama, our boat lost its engine and we were forced to sail into Columbia because Hurricane Wilma was forming around us.) But I can remember this very clearly, so hold on and be ready for an eight-year-old's stream of consciousness.
We began to become aware that the paths we were roaming were pockmarked with hoofprints. One intelligent girl offered the explanation that these trails were made by horses, not humans, and we became very excited. We began to move stealthily (read: making sounds like a small bulldozer ripping up the forest floor), occasionally squealing when someone stepped in horse dung or a particularly nasty bit of swamp.
And then I heard it.
Everyone had relaxed, was just chatting about whatever we chatted about back then. We'd given up sighting horses and instead were wondering if we could manage to get back to our boats without an adult to help us.
But I heard thunder.
Oh, no. Rainstorm. Ohnoohnoohno. I am really not okay with getting caught in the rain.
"Guys, it's going to rain," I complained. Everyone looked at the sky. It was grey, but didn't look particularly thunderous.
I shushed everyone and listened harder. It wasn't thunder. It was hoofbeats.
"Get in the bushes," I declared. My heart had begun to hammer — the ponies were coming, the ponies were coming fast, and we were right in the middle of their path. I was not ready to get trampled. "Get in the bushes, people, and be really quiet!"
They complied. I peeked out over one of the other girl's white-blonde head. "Oh my gosh," I breathed. "Oh. My. Gosh."
There must only have been about fifty ponies, but as they hurtled by us all I could think of was how many there seemed to be and how close we had come to being hamburger under their hooves. Had we waited perhaps sixty seconds longer someone might have gotten hurt.
My heart was beating like a rabbit's but as the ponies faded into the distance I began to get cocky. I might have just saved someone's life, I decided. I should tell my mother and father when we got back to the boats.
Only one problem remained: nobody was strong enough to row us back home...