2014. kenya. africa.
this is a letter i wrote to a friend after a life changing experience with an exquisite 6,000 pound elephant.
three days ago I was laying flat out on a dried out lake bed.
Yes. I was laying belly down to the ground while underneath the middle of our safari car.
Why was I laying down in 104 degree weather on a dried out lake bed?
So I could hide from the oncoming 6,ooo pound elephant that was ambling directly toward us.
And photograph him along his journey.
He was MASSIVE in every way imaginable.
And looking up at Ethan (that is his name) I felt like a skyscraper….that was as wide as the universe…was about to arrive.
That moment with Ethan was as if an extraterrestrial superhero came noiselessly into my universe to put me in my place.
Ethan came directly to our car…and I was staring directly into his dangling trunk and two massive front legs.
Ethan was so close I could have pedicured his toenails.
After a bit, Ethan went around the car to continue his journey.
And as he walked, I turned myself to face the other way.
So that I could see this majestic prehistoric mammal walk away.
One unexpected thing happened.
Ethan turned slightly back to the car as he passed it.
Then he saw me below.
a great thing on one level. not a good thing. on another level.
and in reality.
There was literally no place to hide (I mean I was already laying on a dried out lake bed under a car…where else would I hide at this stage).
And no time or place to run.
This 6,000 pound elephant saw me.
Looked down at me.
And lowered his head with his massive tusks. Which from my perspective looked like giant spears that you stick through a chicken when you make a kebab.
And I was that chicken.
Except these “sticks” were some 12-15 feet long and possibly approaching me because he wanted rotisserie roger as a souvenir.
Gentle Ethan then shook his head. And his tusks. From side to side.
And did so ever so gently.
Then he turned and walked off.
That moment made me cry with joy for the glory, smarts, kindness of Ethan and all elephants.
And a sadness also came over me for the destruction and unspeakable acts of crime against elephants that humans have done to these truly epic and special animals. all for our sake of wanting tusks–their lives and their tusks–just as another show off toy for us.
I can share that such a moment…is at its core….something you feel at the inner essence of your DNA…of where we fit in the universe.
I feel so blessed to have my family.
and i ask all of you to give to the sheldrick trust…https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org….to support their amazing work to help rescue, raise and release orphaned elephants.
and i also ask each of you to not buy any elephant ivory. for any reason. for with no demand….there is no supply.