Huddled Together, Butts to the Wind

In case you thought this was going to be about my running partners and me….it’s not.

The Outer Banks is known for our herd of wild horses who have lived here for over 500 years. Located mainly on the northern beaches, these beauties have been here from the time of the first settlers. Thought to be the progeny of the original horses that swam ashore from shipwrecked sailing vessels, the mighty mustangs have survived in conditions of sparse vegetation, high winds, encroaching civilization, cars strikes, and even hurricanes.

Some have asked this week if the horses get evacuated, and the answer is no. Instead, the colonial Spanish mustang herd will likely ride out the winds and rain as their ancestors did before them — in huddles, “butts to the wind,” according to

“They have an institutional knowledge of where it’s high, dry and safe,” said Meg Puckett, herd manager for the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. “It’s one of the few times we see a lot of the different harems come together.”

Kinda like people. Storm prep is a time for the islanders to come together and look out for each other. I received several offers from younger folks in our community who wanted to help our elderly church members. When I checked on them to see if they needed help, the answer was always the same: our neighbors have already taken care of everything. Huddled together, butts to the wind, God delivers us through the hands and sweat equity of the compassionate ones who huddle with us:

Isaiah 49 (The Message)

8 God also says:

“When the time’s ripe, I answer you.

    When victory’s due, I help you.

I form you and use you

    to reconnect the people with me,

To put the land in order,

    to resettle families on the ruined properties.

I tell prisoners, ‘Come on out. You’re free!’

    and those huddled in fear, ‘It’s all right. It’s safe now.’

There’ll be foodstands along all the roads,

    picnics on all the hills—

Nobody hungry, nobody thirsty,

    shade from the sun, shelter from the wind,

For the Compassionate One guides them,

    takes them to the best springs.

I’ll make all my mountains into roads,

    turn them into a superhighway.

Look: These coming from far countries,

    and those, out of the north,

These streaming in from the west,

    and those from all the way down the Nile!”

Heavens, raise the roof! Earth, wake the dead!

    Mountains, send up cheers!

God has comforted his people.

    He has tenderly nursed his beaten-up, beaten-down people.”

This passage really speaks to me today, as hurricane Dorian will hit us full force tomorrow and we are under a mandatory evacuation order. I see our beautiful community already fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy that there will be people who will help resettle families on the ruined properties. Others will provide food for the hungry and drink for the thirsty ones who will flood back from “out of the North” and “streaming in from the West” when the order is lifted. (Did you notice that? We evacuate mainly to the north and the west. God’s word is amazing!) For those who stay, neighbors are already offering shade from the sun and shelter from the wind. That’s who we are here. That’s what we do. The Compassionate One guides us to protect one another, provide for each other, and huddle together.

So we stand together, butts to the wind, and say to Dorian, “Bring. It. On.” With God’s help, we will help each other and come through this storm just like we have all the others. We may be beaten-up and beaten-down for a moment, but joy comes in the morning. Thanks be to God!

Photo by Michelle Robertson.


  1. sburkhimer · September 5, 2019

    Amen amen amen I love this!

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Flannelnerd · September 5, 2019

    This is beautiful. Praying everyone is safe.


  3. janemelanieross · September 5, 2019

    I really needed to hear this today.


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