Fathers to the Rescue
Betty Mason Arthurs
Father’s Day is here and it’s a time to pay tribute to our fathers and their positive influence in our lives. I also love the stories about fathers in the animal kingdom and their heroics in rescuing their young.
Recently I was fascinated by a story which reported about my state of Arizona and its Salt River Horses. One click on the internet and I entered a fascinating world, a cowboy era of the Wild West…taking place today.
To the east of Phoenix for 200 miles runs the Salt River through the White Mountains and Tonto National Forest. Over 100 wild horses roam along a 16 mile stretch, among the salt cedars and desert creosote. The wild herds are lead by stallions which have a harem of mares and their young which have adapted to the searing desert heat. Facebook posts and websites give us horse lovers’ updates and photos.
Recently a post shared the story of a stallion named Champ. The photos captured this dappled grey stallion and his harem crossing the river. One dark brown filly struggled to stay close to her mother. There was no sound but you could see that she screamed in fright when she was swept away. Champ chased after her, grabbed her by her mane and dragged her to shore where she once again snuggled close to her mother. See the photos here taken by the “volunteer horse protectors” who fight to preserve these wild herds.
I often find myself in tears when the animal kingdom reflects our human world.
Years ago in the 1950s when I was thirteen, my father and I were visiting our Minnesota family. They owned an old deserted lodge built in the 1920s on Moon Lake. My cousins and I begged the adults to take us for a boat ride on a balmy summer day. My dad agreed to take us and for an hour we enjoyed our time on the water, a new experience for me. Never mind that I couldn’t swim or none of us had life jackets or the ten-foot boat had no oars, the old motor puttered along just fine. Then the sky grew dark, rain started to fall and the wind whipped water into the motor and boat. I kept my eyes on my dad, who in the slashing rain, calmly took the motor apart and dried the spark plugs. Soon the motor sparked to life and a group of waterlogged cousins and I gratefully jumped ashore. Later my dad told me, “I was praying hard, Betty. I made a big mistake of not making sure we had life jackets and oars.” I don’t remember being afraid since I kept my eyes on my father and he had always kept me safe.
Here’s a photo taken of my father, Willard, in the 1980s:
A few days ago in Virginia, a gunman opened fire on a congressional delegation of amateur baseball players practicing for a charity event. It happened to be a contingent of Republicans and one congressman had his ten-year-old son with him. As the shooting started over 20 men surrounded his son in the dugout, offering a wall of protection. “My son had many fathers that day,” he said.
Whether human or animal, fathers are a precious part of our lives.
The Bible tells us about God, our Father:
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him (Psalm 103:13 NIV).
Do you need a father…a rescuer in your darkest hours? God longs to be that father for you.