Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A horse of a different color

Gail and her dappled gray miniature horse, Eli, at Sapowet Marsh.

The season at the summer house always seems too short, and we drag our feet into September, trying to hold onto summer.

Yet, autumn in New England offers the most beautiful scenic views of the seashore, along with spectacular weather.

Shakespeare used the phrase, “Beauty too rich for use,” and while that was Romeo’s apt description of Juliet; it also applies to nature, especially at this time of year.

Poet John James Piatt best described these four colorful weeks: “September – / The beautiful apples, so golden and mellow / They will fall at a kiss of the breeze, / While it breathes through the foliage frosty and yellow / And the sunshine is filling the trees!”

Donning sweatshirts, my mother and I steal away from the Red Sox game and head down to the beach.

Unlike the haze that usually hangs over the seashore and is the namesake of Fogland Beach, clear bright sunshine and cool breezes await us at the water’s edge.

Peering upriver, we are offered an unobstructed southerly view of the Sakonnet Lighthouse at the mouth of the bay.

We sit on large stones and watch the wild waves, as well as an occasional sailboat zip by.

There are few beach-goers now, and it is just us and the wildlife, basking in the sun.

Seagulls soar or congregate in bunches, their snowy white feathers rustling in the wind.

Later, my husband and I take the coastal route home, following the Sakonnet downriver by the Sapowet Marsh Wildlife Preserve.

I expect to see seabirds and jumping bluefish or perhaps a dog or two, but today I spot a horse.

We park the Ram, and with camera in hand I jump into the sand, where I have the good fortune to meet Gail and her dappled gray, Eli.  

Miniature horses are the size of a very small pony and are usually less than 35 inches tall. Retaining the various colors and coat patterns of their breed, they are generally quite hardy, often living longer on average than some full-sized horse breeds. The average life span of miniature horses is from 25 to 35 years.

Friendly and interacting well with people, they are companion animals and are often kept as family pets.

Petting Eli’s mane, I marvel at the beauty of this docile, dappled creature that likes to kick up his heels in the sand.

You never know what you might find at the seashore: a bit of sea glass, a scallop shell or maybe a horse of a different color.

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