By Brooke Morrison
This is what I imagine arriving on Sable Island would be like and what Zoe Lucas could show me if I spent the day with her.
Sable Island is a tiny island in the North Atlantic. It is only 40 kilometres long and less than 2 kilometres wide. I know one day will never be long enough to see everything because it is filled with so much life.
Like most people who travel to Sable Island one thing I would want is for Zoe Lucas to show me the horses first. The first horses were released on the island in the late 1700s.
There might be a chance she would want to get me to look through the horses’ manure. I know this because I saw the documentary about Sable Island at Kings Theatre in Annapolis Royal. I would politely observe instead of help. I’m not a fan of insects, so count me out!
Zoe Lucas would show me from a safe distance the shining glossy horse coats that the horses get in summer. We would watch the horses grazing in a field of beach grass. She would explain the horses have been protected since 1960 by the Canadian government and that this has been good for their population. I’m glad no one can steal or sell them now.
This wasn’t always the case. They used to be rounded up and sold on the mainland to work pulling wagons or as pit ponies. School kids just like me didn’t like this idea so they wrote letters to the Prime Minister for the culling to stop. He listened to their voices and protected the horses.
I would be especially interested in finding some of the different flowers the horses eat and see how they paw the ground to dig waterholes.
The freshwater ponds of Sable Island are special habitats for some of the island’s plants and animals. Zoe Lucas would explain she is one of many colleagues researching the water and many other things on Sable Island.
We would wander in a nice field of Starry False Solomon’s-seal flowers which are in bloom in the early summer days here on Sable Island. As we walk over the dunes to the beach I can hear the beach before I can see the beach.
Zoe Lucas would show me the grey seal colonies. If I went in late spring, I would be able to see the seals after their moulting period with their new silver coat. I wonder if they would feel as soft as my pet bunny named Radish?
We would also watch the seals soaking up the sun along the edge of the water, and watch them having a good time playing in the greenish-blue waves. I would be envious of how long they can hold their breath and how well they surf the waves.
While we are at the beach we would take a walk and look at what interesting things wash up. Things like shells, fish, jellyfish, feathers and other natural things. Sadly, we would also find garbage, like balloons, string, plastic bags, plastic drink bottles, plastic laundry containers, plastic chewing gum packets, plastic wrappers and plastic plastic plastic! I would leave Sable Island determined to use less plastic.
After watching a beautiful sunset, I would be sad my day was over, but I would keep Sable in my memory and my imagination.
By Brooke Morrison © 2023
Grade 4, Home educated, Bridgetown, NS
Sable in Words 2023
Youth Writing Contest, 10-13 age group
Sable Island Institute