Kaitlyn Dolan

Assateague National Seashore

Every day there is something that reminds me of working with horses; riding them, teaching little girls to ride, watching them romp in the paddock. I miss them every day and often think about how I can return to horsemanship. 

I’ve been what some call a ‘horse girl’ my whole life.  While I wasn’t able to take lessons or compete as a child, my parents would bring me to take trail rides or just go look at horses whenever possible. At fifteen, I found the calling of my teenage life- teaching horseback riding to youth at the residential camp where I was a counselor-in-training. I spent the next five summers teaching horseback riding to children, my favorite group being the girls who had never rode a horse. I loved watching their faces light up as they were nuzzled by the soft noses of these huge animals. I loved watching them make their first turn, and the ensuing smile that would split their faces. 

It’s been three summers since I’ve been to camp, three years without much horse interaction, except when I was able to morph a photo assignment into covering horseback riding or a horse rescue. Everyday I miss the excitement, hard work, the feeling when you hug a horse around the neck and they sigh heavily. 

That is why this past weekend fulfilled so many of my lifelong dreams.  Seeing the wild horses of Assateague has been a goal of mine since I learned of their existence. When I saw I actually teared up at the sight of them, slowly walking down the beach with their bellies bloated from eating the salty marsh grasses, not a shred of me is over exaggerating. 

 I can’t put into words how inexplicably happy it made me to see them, or how happy I am every time I remember that the experience was real. 

Monday Night Baseball

Baseball has always been something my brother, my father, and I shared.  I can remember listening to games on my Dad’s old church-shaped radio in Maine while the evening breeze blew the wind chimes outside.  I remember where I was when the Curse of the Bambino was finally broken and I remember the destroying of shirts when Johnny Damon was traded to the Yankees.  

There’s an ongoing joke in my family that we leave my Mom out of the baseball outings, probably because when I was still in middle school my father acquired tickets to a game my mother had been bragging about attending for weeks.  Much to her chagrin, it was one of the hottest days of early summer and she had been seated outside while we lounged in the air-conditioned club seats.  

Last Monday, Kyle and I honored the tradition of sharing baseball with my father by fulfilling his longstanding dream of seeing a Red Sox vs. Orioles game at Camden yards. The night was rainy, warm, and the Sox pulled out a victory. The baseball tradition of my family lives on, and while I may not be home often or able to sit in our hammock with my dad listening to the sounds of yesteryear through the old radio, there’s still a smile on my face when I hear of a win for the home team. 

Green Roofs

Green roofs are something I’ve recently become fascinated with; the idea that on top of a building, filled with people and things, is a lush green space is like a secret hideaway. I’ve come to learn about the different type of green spaces that roofs can accommodate- small succulents to reduce the heat island effect, agricultural space to feed local communities, plants and outdoor furniture coexisting beautifully to make a space for rest and relaxation.  

Here, you can see some images from last week’s trip to D.C. to document various green roofs as part of an upcoming piece for the Chesapeake Bay Program!

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