I have been saying for years how much I love elephants.
Today is World Elephant Day, so it only makes sense that I would applaud these gentle giants again. They are truly impressive: matriarchal, social, communicative and creative. When I visited the World Elephant Day website, one of its logos said it all: “BECAUSE WITHOUT ELEPHANTS WHAT KIND OF WORLD WOULD THIS BE?”
Of course, my encounters with elephants have not been extensive, mainly from visiting zoos. The first time was when I was little and decided then and there I wanted a baby elephant as a pet. It could live in the basement and backyard. That did not seem unreasonable to me when I was five! I also—many, many years later—was able to interact with an elephant who works in movies. It was an arranged group visit where I was able to give Nellie a bath and join her for a walk through the Lancaster Hills.
I would love to see them in the wild often, relishing in their gentle strength and impressive presence. Of course, living in Bakersfield, California, I do not have many opportunities to go on safari. But I do follow de Wets Wild Blog and savor all of the animal sightings shared there from South Africa. However, its World Elephant Day posting shows elephants in action in all their natural glory. Please go visit this site—and enjoy!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A FEW QUOTES ABOUT ELEPHANTS
“Elephants love reunions. They recognize one another after years and years of separation and greet each other with wild, boisterous joy. There’s bellowing and trumpeting, ear flapping and rubbing. Trunks entwine.” Jennifer Richard Jacobson
“Of all African animals, the elephant is the most difficult for man to live with, yet its passing – if this must come – seems the most tragic of all. I can watch elephants (and elephants alone) for hours at a time, for sooner or later the elephant will do something very strange such as mow grass with its toenails or draw the tusks from the rotted carcass of another elephant and carry them off into the bush. There is mystery behind that masked gray visage, and ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.” Peter Matthiessen
“It seems safe to say that apes know about death, such as that is different from life and permanent. The same may apply to a few other animals, such as elephants, which pick up ivory or bones of a dead herd member, holding the pieces in their trunks and passing them around. Some pachyderms return for years to the spot where a relative died, only to touch and inspect the relics. Do they miss each other? Do they recall how he or she was during life?” Frans de Waal
“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
“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.” John Donne
“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant is faithful one hundred percent.” Dr. Seuss
“The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephants except in a picture book?” David Attenborough
“When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.” Abraham Lincoln