Chincoteague: Where the ponies are

“ I want you to say to me, ‘Willa, I’ve decided to take your advice and go see what my sisters are cooking up.’ Visit your sisters and your parents. Hug your nephews and see the ponies.”

Charlotte’s friend paused for effect. “It can’t hurt. Can it?”

Yes, of course it could. Henry was there with what’s-her-name and their child. I’d avoided such a meeting for eight years.

Every summer my extended family gathers in Chincoteague. Seeing the ponies is a highlight of our visit.

Chincoteague draws tens of thousands of visitors who want to see the wild ponies. They don’t actually live on Chincoteague but are rounded up for the annual Pony Swim in July. The ponies spend the rest of the year on Assateague, the barrier island that separates Chincoteague from the Atlantic Ocean.

The marvel of these sweet brown and white creatures is the lives they lead, wild and free—only minutes from Chincoteague’s everyday world. Want to see the ponies? It isn’t hard to do. Peer across the Chincoteague Channel, hop aboard one of the local tours, drive over to the national seashore. Sometimes they browse the seagrasses by the shore. Sometimes they’re huddled in small groups farther away.

Don’t imagine yourself touching them, feeding them, or getting close. They are wild and will bite and kick. The ponies are always a sight to behold. That should be enough.

In FEARLESS SUMMER, I mention these beautiful animals though they never take center stage. After all, Charlotte has seen them all her life. She takes them for granted even as Chincoteague visitors all around her can think of little else.

She’s more concerned about running into Henry. Her childhood sweetheart was lost to her so many years ago. Seeing him is hard. Can she find it in her heart to give him a second chance?

My book, the e-book for now, is now on sale from Champagne Books, and the usual outlets. The paperback edition will release in time for summer 2023 reading.

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