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How much does an elephant never forget?

There’s so much we don’t know. And so much to know about the things we do. Life seems an endless theater of possibility. And with every turn we take, or inquisitive glance we make, more paths become visible, more doors of opportunity swing wide.

Elephants are always said to be, ‘In the room,’ but even when over-looked as temporarily invisible, elephants are always in our world.  And there’s so much the world’s largest land animals have to show us if we might notice. For one, their babies can weigh up to 260 pounds! How’s that for a healthy birth weight!

This one is keeping a snoot above….

Perhaps, a more notable case in point on elephants evolves from a single news story of a man once known as the, elephant whisper.

Lawrence Anthony befriended a herd of elephant in Thula Thula, a wildlife preserve in South Africa, a herd known at the time to be a rogue, wild, unpredictable lot of elephants, the kind many who lived near them hoped would be culled from existence.

Of course, there’s an amazing story to tell about the relationship between Lawrence and this herd of elephants. Unfortunately, this unfathomable happenstance between the elephants and Lawrence extends well beyond their interaction in life, and perhaps it was his death that concretely defined their relationship and can teach us so much.

To step back in time….

Maybe before this baby was born….or these two..

.

(There’s nothin’ like tangling with siblings.)

To begin, Lawrence met this rag-tag romping herd of elephants with the patience of, well, an elephant. His cool head and calming demeanor eventual won over the misfit tribe of elephants and soon the man and group  became fast friends.*( Please enjoy this video) The years passed with this herd of elephants visiting Lawrence at his dwelling from time to time, not every day, not every month, sometimes not even every year, but often enough to keep the lines of communication well established—no one needed introductions. New elephant babies were a joy to see and long-nose trumpets blared the herd’s joy to share when the occasion arose.

Many elephants live approximately 60 to 70 years so maybe their internal clock beats much as our own. For whatever reason, this story came to pass…

Lawrence Anthony died March 2, 2012, in Johannesburg of a heart attack at age 61 after lecturing and touring the world over on behalf of elephants.** He hadn’t seen his herd of big footed, up to 13,000 pound, long nosed friends in about a year and half when he died. However,  two days after Lawrence’s death, as pictured below, a herd of 31 elephants came marching up to Lawrence’s home to mourn their loss. They had traveled up to 12 hours to make the trip. You might want to read the above sentence again.

This is really a picture of 31 elephants arriving two days after Lawrence Anthony’s death. They had walked for 12 hours.

They never forgot.

Elephants know the beginnings have endings. But how or why do they seem to know so much? This link gets into the brain of elephants and more—***

Is it necessary to point out elephants don’t use phones, faxes, twitter, e-mail, no, not even snail—mail! The elephants just knew, they just knew when Lawrence had died and did so while being a great distance apart from the man!?!? You see? The elephants not only knew their friend had died and ALSO came to show their respects, but they indeed showed us all there is a web between Life Mankind seems most often not to see, or realize, or should we say respect? The elephants felt that web of connection, the fiber of our lives among all living things and proved they were in touch on a grand scheme, on a plain that exists as one that remains hidden from most of us due to, I think, distractions that fill our lives on a daily basis.

Zen will offer that we be here now—like this elephant seems to be.

It’s important for us to focus. Maybe how we meet Life determines how it sits within us, or, on us?

Thing is, maybe Life is much more than now, but forever, for everything all at once, for all that goes beyond our current understanding though it remains the true elephant in our world. I suspect this understanding between all of Life goes on between Man, Animal, Plant and Mineral. When we realize this connection, will we will find new pathways to peace?

Sometimes, it does take a big person, a huge personality or strong person to lead the way. If only we could let the world’s largest land animal show the way so that we might stand in their shadow and follow.

Young or old, does the elephant somehow know more than you and I? Does the elephant know what Mankind seems to forget?

Franque23 loves life.

*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yap6r7pSGU

**http://delightmakers.com/news/wild-elephants-gather-inexplicably-mourn-death-of-elephant-whisperer/

***”However, their (BRAINS) are arranged differently. Human pyramidal neurons tend to have a large number of shorter branches, whereas the elephant has a smaller number of much longer branches. Whereas primate pyramidal neurons seem to be designed for sampling very precise input, the dendritic configuration in elephants suggests that their dendrites sample a very broad array of input from multiple sources.

Taken together, these morphological characteristics suggest that neurons in the elephant cortex may synthesize a wider variety of input than the cortical neurons in other mammals.

http://theconversation.com/what-elephants-unique-brain-structures-suggest-about-their-mental-abilities-100421

“In terms of cognition, my colleagues and I believe that the integrative cortical circuitry in the elephant supports the idea that they are essentially contemplative animals. Primate brains, by comparison, seem specialized for rapid decision-making and quick reactions to environmental stimuli.

Indeed, even the brains of individuals within a given species are unique. However, the special morphology of elephant cortical neurons reminds us that there is certainly more than one way to wire an intelligent brain. Lawerence Anthony is an author of three books about elephants, a person who traveled during his life around the globe speaking about elephants to anyone who wanted to listen. If not a ‘whisperer’ to elephants, he was a true friend to the species in both word and deed……There are two elephant herds at Thula Thula. According to his son Dylan, both arrived at the Anthony family compound shortly after Anthony’s death.

“They had not visited the house for a year and a half and it must have taken them about 12 hours to make the journey,” Dylan is quoted in various local news accounts. “The first herd arrived on Sunday and the second herd, a day later. They all hung around for about two days before making their way back into the bush.”

 

 


It’s simple in the most complex way. How something tied within can run from the tongue or written word to announce its preponderance is miraculous. But, again, words don’t work; I just have to try—

I’d been walking through a forest; walking forever…

I often walked to familiar places though no walk could be the same. No, rather than feeling redundant, each walk resembled a reoccurring dream that shifted ever so slightly in my head. Once, when I was young, the leaves held a glistening magic beyond compare and the stars above sang love songs. Breath came and went with a whisper of steam in the winter or without a notice in summer. A night bird’s call held a special treat for every step of the way.

The moon would rise—that was in the air, too.

Places presented a universe of change but that variance was apart from the heart of the matter. What was the heart of the matter? When I walked as a boy and walk now as a man there is one secret, one truth I print with each step I take. When any of us walk, we are searching for what we hope to find—this is the heart of the matter.

One day, I began the walk I had to make.

There were bushes, sticks and vines to push aside as I walked. Streaks of red and yellow stretched across a light-blue sky softly lit to a sun-licked amber hue I’d never seen before. The landscape seemed a mirror that span before me but I couldn’t see myself in it, and certainly not within the darkened places or behind the boulders that lay ahead.

Quiet noise drummed my ears to the beat of my heart. One foot-fall followed the other and mashed a fresh scent of pine from the needles that had fallen from the trees above. A breeze passed as a tap on the shoulder that turned me around again to see if someone was there.

I was alone.

Oh, I loved the twists and turns of life. The ups and downs of Life, the rag-tag moments of laughter that still echoed in my head and tears spent that had run dry to leave a trace upon my cheek were never to forget. I held my life near and dear; it was all I really had. I bent down to pick up a pine cone, took a breath and then moved on beneath a glorious sun-set sky.

There, in an instant quicker than a slip, a clearing appeared. This flowing, smoothly swept, warm as a blanket on a winter’s night place had a voice of its own set in a timbre no ear could deny. Its mysterious opening abruptly ended the maze of life I’d struggled to pass; it was an awakening of peace within my weary heart. The place turned my head, lifted my steps and lightened the tightness in my back. I turned around to make sure I’d left the brambles behind and come to a new place, a new clearing with only the truest of view.

The time turned to rest. All my effort, all the decisions random or not, all the painful struggle and haphazard joys of my journey had led me to this place.

It was amazing.

I’d found my way home to a place I’d never seen before.

Somehow, my heart just knew.

How does the heart know so much? How can the thing we always feel but never touch know the way to travel, the places to see and the people to hold? Love, the heart’s messenger, is startling when it comes whether that’s in the first minute when meeting someone or not. Mellowed by time or arriving in a split second, Love opens the flood gates of the soul so that we pour into a sea of understanding. Some people say being in love is like floating on air. Maybe. To me, Love is finding the ground I was meant to stand upon.

Of course, the clearing I found that day forty-seven years ago was you. I’m so thankful you had made it.

Thank you for being you.

This is the heart of the matter.

Franque23

To Dale, my wife of 40 years of marriage as of 1/3/2020-

 

 

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