One of five paintings by my father's sister, Betty Whalen, from my photos. This was at the pond where three horses came running down for a late afternoon drink and one started stomping its foot and splashing itself. © Betty Whalen 2012
By Karen Mulhallen, 2007
This begins with the dream, a dream of wild horses.
This begins with the phrase, dropped casually.
There is an island, a maritime island, island of wild horses.
This is not a dream of the steppes of hither Asia,
of the pampas of South America.
This is a dream of Canada.
An island of sand, of lisp and hurl of water, of grasses,
of bird calls, heady with flowers,
Somewhere in childhood someone says "an island of wild horses".
Later the yearning grows, like a poem.
So the years pass and the time arrives.
Time to go, time to go to Sable Island.
On August 17, 2011, my dream came true when, in celebration of my 50th year, I got to share an incredible day on Sable Island with my sister and five dear friends, the Sable Sisters Seven. I’m writing this on the first anniversary of our adventure. Still today, the emotions of being so wonderfully and totally overwhelmed by the experience bring tears to my eyes. I’ve seen many photos and heard first hand stories of others’ visits but still was not prepared for the wonderful things we would find, the land, the seals, the horses. I think often of Sable, on cold wet winter days hoping the horses are okay, wondering what it is really like on the beaches when the peak of the seal population is there, try to imagine the force of the wind atop a dune in the middle of a storm and I remember how perfect and peaceful it is on a beautiful sunny summer day. Thank you to my friend, Teresa, for saying “you should go to Sable for your 50th birthday” and to my parents and next door neighbours (who had all visited Sable) for fueling the dream. Zoe Lucas and Gerry Forbes; your kindness and help making the day one of my most special days will never be forgotten and forever appreciated.
Jane Dunlop-Stevenson, August 2012