Finding My Heart’s “Home”

This is one of the walkways over the marshes on Assateague Island.

This past weekend my best friend Sarah and I headed down to Chincoteague Island, VA so I could show Sarah all the thrills of Eastern Shore living and check out Assateague Island, home of the wild ponies (and many other amazing critters).  I was a bit hesitant in going due to the rainy forecast (not the best picture taking weather) and because of some mild-t0-moderate pain in my right foot (not the best for walking).  However, we went anyway desperate for a break.

A wild pony and her suckling colt block the road, but what a marvelous encounter!

My foot went from mild-to-moderate pain to throbbing-tears-in-my-eyes pain on the four and a half hour drive home, so I promptly called the doctor on Tuesday morning to make an appointment.  Then I had to wait a little under 7 hours to actually see the doctor. Resting my foot kept my pain at bay, but my nerves were shot.  As I’ve shared before, nothing terrifies me more than a trip to the doctor.  As it turned out, I have a sprained foot, but I got it x-rayed “just to be safe.”  It’s now Thursday morning and I’m still waiting for the results of the x-ray.  My guess is that it’s nothing too serious.  So I’m resting an loading up on ibuprofen (the doctor told me to take three or even four…I feel so rebellious ignoring the warnings on the back of the bottle).

My best friend Sarah sits on the beach.  Her orange shirt made such a lovely contrast with the shore’s colors, don’t you think?

Despite being ordered to “rest my foot” and walk very little, going through over 500 photos is still a monstrous task.  And, of course, I want to write about Chincoteague intimately because the place has become a very intimate refuge for me.  Right now, I am keeping this project close to my heart; it is precious to me for reasons that defy explanation.  However, I really do want to share the island and its intrigues with you in stunning detail.  It’s a’coming, don’t you worry!  I feel that this small project will give way to something much bigger, but I’m not sure what.

A blue heron, who’s a bit grumpy, though you can’t tell in this photo.

The odd thing about Chincoteague Island is that I’ve only been there three times–once as a child and two times in the past three years, and I’ve never felt more at home.  I feel more “me” than I do anywhere else, save Friday Harbor, WA with my good friends, the Baileys.  I imagine living on the island (or near the island) in the off-season in a little shanty writing the books or articles or essays God has laid on my heart.  When writer’s block strikes, I can simply jump in my Chevy Tracker to find inspiration among the inhabitants of Chincoteague or her sister island, Assateague.  I tire of the traffic, crime, and disconnectedness I feel here in my hometown of Allentown (Emmaus), Pennsylvania.  It will always be my hometown, but it’s starting to feel less and less like “home.”

The Assateague Lighthouse from Beach Road on a foggy, misty night.

Then again, my ideal place of worship is under a tree in the park–God’s natural cathedral and I’m still infatuated with the natural beauty of the Lehigh Valley, especially our birds of prey.  I’m lucky to be surrounded by so much beauty, then again, perhaps to find beauty we need only open our eyes to all that is around us.  Chincoteague Island taught me that in 2006–beauty is all around us, we need only look.  Think of this as a preview to all the Chincoteague Tales (and pictures) to come.

A Great Heron bidding us adieu as we left Assateague National Wildlife Reserve on Monday.

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