Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Elephant's farewell

Today I was watching a documentary on animal migrations. The subject was elephants in Mali. They and many other animals were crowded around a rapidly drying out lake when a calf was born. Sadly underweight and weak, it died after a few hours while its mother and grandmother tried to shelter it from the heat. A week later the little corpse had completely dried out leaving shreds of hide and exposed bones and the herd, scenting rain in the south, was preparing to move out. Before they left though the entire herd gathered around the remains. With extraordinary delicacy and gentleness they each touched and lifted the bones and one even rubbed the skull over its cheek. It was one of the most profoundly moving things I've ever seen. It reduced me to tears - not a common occurrence. After watching that I was convinced that the arrogant human presumption that we are the only ones who love and whose hearts can be broken is just that - arrogant- because if that was not an expression of love I don't know what love is.


Satima Flavell said...

I agree wholeheartedly, Helen. We as a species are inclined to arrogance when considering our fellow beings. Why should they not be able to feel love?

Helen V. said...

It made me think about a dog we had once. When our cat died she spent weeks waiting and looking for it. Heart wrenching to watch.