Cattle and Aviators

I received an email from someone who was able to access my Sunday homily in which I described the events of an air raid during the Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 1944) when aviators returning in the pitch black, low on fuel, wondering how they could possibly find the fleet and safely land – were suddenly greeted with the “light of the world.”

The relevant passage from the homily was:

Despite the threat to the fleet, Admiral Mitscher ordered Task Force 58 to light up the night. All ships elevated their search lights. The aircraft carrier illuminated the land decks. The destroyers and other ships on the picket line did the same, also firing star shell bursts into the night sky. They did not hide their light; they put it on display for all the world to see. Imagine you are the returning aviator. Imagine the power of that moment. Such is the power of the light.

The reader offered the following experience that I thought fascinating:

I live in West Virginia and several years ago had the opportunity to help work with a small herd of Black Angus cattle. Knowing nothing about this, I read everything I could and one of my favorite books was by livestock authority Temple Grandin. One of the comments she’d made was that cattle, being prey animals, will not enter a darkened building or cattle truck. They cannot see any potential danger and instinct tells them to remain in the light.

I was helping a friend herd his cattle late one afternoon and they refused to enter a barn whose passage led to a loading corral. I remembered the book’s suggestion and shared it with my friend. As soon as he’d turned on the light in the barn, the cattle went into the barn without any problem, for they’d been able to see for themselves that no predator lay in wait for them.

In light is safety, and we are to be safe haven for those around us, too.

Shared with permission
Image credit: Unsplash, Kyle Johnson, CC-BY

1 thought on “Cattle and Aviators

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.