““But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those that we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants, but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.”
― Lawrence Anthony, The Elephant Whisperer
I am frequently asked if I get to go out on game drives often – my answer is always the same: Not too often, but I always say that it makes me appreciate everything more when I do go out.
In fact, I feel incredibly fortunate just to be here in this magnificent area we’ve called home for the last two and a bit years. Our house is a little bit up on the hill behind the main area, and every single morning when I walk down, I am grateful to be in it, to be a part of it.
Whether it be a beautiful sunrise that starts the day, the light falling just right making Lake Tagalala in the distance a glimmering mirror or glowing through a simple bunch of flowers on the table. It might be following the civet tracks from outside our front door trailing all the way to the waterhole; or a flock of sixty something splendid, brightly coloured bee-eaters flitting in the trees chattering away.
The last two mornings it was the family of elephants that makes my heart feel like it is going to implode with happiness.
I had just gotten into the office after our daily morning meeting with all the staff, when Mr. Simba comes to call me – he says to bring the camera – tembo.
It is a small breeding herd of five – two moms, a young teenager and then, two of the tiniest baby elephants I have seen in a while. They are adorable! Too cute.
What amazes me is that they come into our man-made area, and are completely relaxed, feeding away and playing and having fun. Usually one of the most dangerous situations to find yourself in is with a mother elephant and her calf, and more often than not, the mom hides the baby on her other side so you cannot see it, or they move quickly away. And if threatened, she will defend that little one with her life.
But here, this particular family feels safe enough to share their private moments and behaviour with us. The two tiny ones are lying down, over each other and their little trunks are busy the whole time. Typical toddlers, they play and bounce around, and then get shy, almost bashful, before forgetting their troubles again and going along back to mom to suckle.
So really, I don’t need to go out that often – there is always something happening right here in camp. I watch in awe this magical scene, grateful to have been allowed to witnes the intimate splendour of it all.