Back in March I fell in love. With an African elephant.
She’s 46 years old, is on her last set of teeth (elephants use up six sets of teeth) and is reckoned to have the intelligence level equivalent to a 10 year old human. Her name is Estrella – Spanish for Star.
Isn’t she beautiful?
I was there to take photographs of my beloved husband with an elephant, for an info product he’s creating and the kind folks at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Stirling* let us in for a private visit before the season started.
We locked eyes and I was hooked. There was only room for Estrella in the photos. Such presence. Such grace. Such wisdom. My heart was beating fast. My ears were oblivious to all sounds. I was fascinated. And awestruck.
Clickety-click-click. Give me more, honey. That’s it, just there. Perfect. Love. Awesome.
And then I hear Martin ask me when he gets to be in the photo. At this point, Estrella is losing interest in the intrusive girl with the camera. The truth is, she was only there in that moment because Johnny the elephant keeper was throwing her food.
I never did get the shot we were after … for she’d had enough …
Being absorbed is a wonderful feeling.
Martin commented that he’d never before seen me so engrossed on a professional appointment. So totally in the moment.
Being in the present is something we all too often fail to achieve.
Just don’t forget why you’re there in the first place.
*I’m not sure how to articulate everything I feel about safari parks and zoos, but the elephants at Blair Drummond have been rescued from pretty appalling situations. They were poached from the wild when they were just babies (Estrella is thought to have previously been a circus performer) and simply couldn’t survive in the wild now – they’ve no idea to behave naturally as elephants. This is a safe environment for them to live out the rest of their lives with a great amount of dignity. Their contact with humans is limited and their keeper, Johnny feels extremely privileged to look after them.