There are moments in life when the heart is uplifted by such awe that it is difficult to speak. Such a moment happened for me at Coon’s Bluff in the Tonto National Forest.
As I wrote yesterday, Coon’s Bluff sits high above the Salt River and forested by mesquite trees creates an enchanting backdrop for Arizona’s wildlife. As this was our first visit to a natural area in Arizona, we approached wide-eyed and eager to explore. What we beheld was unexpected and beyond words: wild horses, lazing in the woods just off the main pathway.
I spotted the first laying just behind a low branch of a tree, his long white snout in beautiful contrast to his reddish coat. Then I realized there were more, some also laying down and some standing.
We approached cautiously, uncertain about the nature of wild horses, but apart from a few flicks of their tales, the horses didn’t seem to mind.
And then I saw the mother and foal. The mother’s coat, so fair compared to the others, made me miss her at first, and as she was lying with her back to me, I didn’t see her young one until we had carefully skirted the scene. Respecting this sacred moment, we backed off, giving these majestic animals their space. Being in their presence felt somehow sacred.
The Salt River wild horses, as they are known, were once considered a nuisance to the area and in threat of being removed. A group of concerned citizens came together to preserve and protect the horses ensuring the population remains a local treasure. They even have their own Facebook page.
Oh, how I wish we had our granddaughters along to share in this moment. These gentle animals are powerful reminders of the need to have reverence for all creatures. I hope we are able to cross paths with them again before we leave.