The Language of Love

f895809594fc780124535e280a924c7d pinterest, Elephants from the Thula Thula Reserve

In the past several years I have developed a growing fondness for elephants. They are majestic creatures who have a very strong maternal bond with their children and they just are fascinating. Very smart animals!  I recently read a book called “The Elephant Whisperer” and I was so intrigued by it and wanted to share it with all of you in case you are looking for a book to read.

It is a true story by Lawrence Anthony. He lived inZululand, South Africa and owned a wildlife reserve, the Thula-Thula Reserve. it consisted of 5000 acres. He was granted the opportunity to save a herd of elephants from death, and he jumped at the chance. Little did he know how his life would be changed. He developed a true bond with the elephants and it really is a powerful story to read. Its not a “how to” understand elephants book , its the simple story of what happens when a man opens his heart to a family of elephants.  The things they teach him about loyalty and trust, and about what can happen when you show an animal how much you care. He became known as the “Elephant Whisperer”, but he said it was the elephants that whispered to him, he just learned to listen.

The book is filled with many moving moments, as you see into the heart of certain elephants. Nana is the matriarch of the herd and Lawrence had to win her love and respect first, for the herd followed her. With much patience and dedication he did win Nana over. He describes the first moment that he finally began to feel her trust.

“For a few magnetic moments we connected. I stood a little closer as she moved the tip of her trunk over my t-shirt and then touched me on the head and face. I was completely entranced.”

He hadn’t realized how much he had won her over though until a specific incident occurred.

He had been trying to work with a new, young elephant that had come to the reserve, She had watched her whole family be killed, and she was very scared and angry at humans. She got along wonderfully with the herd of elephants. It was a joy to watch the elephant who at first had acted so scared and shy,  now frolic with the other elephants. She was getting used to her new home but she still did not trust Lawrence. He had to be careful of her, for she had tried to charge at him several times, and though she was considered a youngster, she still far outweighed Lawrence.

One time when he was out on the reserve he found himself in danger. He saw the young elephant and the look in her eyes. He knew she was going to charge, and this time he was not close to his vehicle to jump in. His heart was pounding and then, Nana, the matriarch, stepped in.

She stopped her grazing and stepped in front of Lawrence, protecting  him with the broadside of her body. The young elephant stumbled back, knocked off course. She meekly swung around and headed back to the herd and Nana went back to grazing like nothing had happened. Lawrence describes his feelings in the words below.

“I stared, barely breathing, pulling body, soul and nerves back together. I had never heard before of a wild elephant blocking the charge of another to protect a human! Nana was radically changing the way I perceived her species.” 

The book is filled with moving moments like this and humorous ones as well. How Lawrence and his staff  trick some poachers and scare them so badly that they knew they wouldn’t be back. What happens when one thinks a Black Mumba snake got into your house and you can’t find it! Black Mumba snakes are one of the most deadliest snakes’s around.

What happens when there is flooding, your LandRover is stuck in the mud and you aren’t sure where the crocodiles are?

You will feel like you are in Africa, in the bush, walking with the elephants, as you read this. There will be moments that will bring tears of joy and tears of sadness. It really is a story like no other. You will be amazed at the way these elephants think and it will make you wonder again if we humans really are the more intelligent ones!

We hear often of how dogs and cats form bonds with their humans, this is the first book that I ever read about the strong bonds elephants can form. The bull elephant in the herd named Mnumzane grew very close to Lawrence. Every time Lawrence would drive by in his Landrover, Mnumzane would come out to greet him and stand in front of his vehicle while Lawrence rubbed Mnumzane’s trunk and they “talked”. Mnumzane wouldn’t move out of the way until he was ready for Lawrence to leave.

In 2012 Lawrence died of a heart attack. His wife was devastated, but she received a huge surprise after Lawrence died. Two of the elephant herds that Lawrence had saved found their way to his home. They stayed around the house for 2 days mourning the death of their friend.

God gave us such amazing animals, take a journey with Lawrence and get to know this special herd of elephants,  you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

Did you have a “Ellie”?

hazel_soan_watercolor_8Suzie was walking home from school one day. The skies were cloudy and gray and it just hadn’t been a good day for poor Suzie. She moped as she walked and shuffled her feet along. Looking down she noticed a shadow coming up behind her. A very large shadow! What could it be? Poor Suzie got a little scared but curiosity made her turn around.

Wow! What a sight she did see. An elephant was right there behind her!  It stood there just looking at her. She cautiously put out her hand to touch it, for she had to see if it was truly real. It was! She wasn’t dreaming, an elephant was following her home. Just wait until “fancy Franny”  heard about this. She always thought that she had the best stories to tell, that everything exciting happened to her. Well Suzie sure has her beat now. Her face lighted up at the thought.

Once again Suzie started walking, though no longer was she shuffling her feet, she was practically running! So eager was she to get home and show her parents.

Uh-oh Suzie had a thought, what if her Mommy wouldn’t let her keep the elephant what if she sent her away? There was another thought that struck her as well. How was she going to fit the elephant into her house!

Slowly the air of excitement started leaking out of Suzie’s puffed up balloon. What was she to do?  She stopped and walked over to the curb and sat down. Next thing she knew her elephant was sitting down beside her. Hmmm….Suzie had a thought.

“Miss. Elephant can you talk?”

“Well yes my dear I can, all you had to do was ask. ”

Suzie’s balloon started puffing up again.  Not only did she have a pet elephant but she had one that could talk!!

“Miss. Elephant I would love to take you home. Do you want to come home with me?”

“Oh yes please!! You seem like such a nice little girl. I am sure we could have lots of fun! I was lonely and looking for a friend and then I saw you. ”

Suzie couldn’t believe her ears, someone else was lonely besides just her. Someone else needed a friend! Warmth started flooding through her little heart.

“Oh Miss. Elephant I would love to be your friend, but we have a problem. My house is not nearly big enough for you to fit in. What can we do?”

The elephant smiled and nuzzled Suzie with her trunk.  “No worries my dear, I will just shrink before I enter your house.  I have that special ability for friends that I meet. ”

“Wow!” said Suzie, ” You really are something special! Well then lets not delay, lets get on our way!”

They once again stood up and started to walk to Suzie’s home. Before Suzie knew it they were home.

“Okay  Miss. Elephant can you shrink now please?”

The elephant stuck her trunk up in the air and “bippety bobbledy boo” she was the size of a small dog.

Suzie stood there with her jaw opened wide. Then she scooped her up and entered the house. Her Mom was there to greet her at the door. Suzie got a little nervous, for even though her elephant was small it was still an elephant. What would her Mommy say?

“Hi Suzie! How was school?” her Mom asked as she gave Suzie a hug.

“It was okay, but walking home was the best! Can I keep it Mommy please, can I ? ”

“Keep what? “, her Mommy questioned, “Did you find another frog on the way home from school? Go wash your hands and you can have some cookies and milk in the kitchen.”

Suzie was shocked. Did her Mommy really not see?  She ran up the stairs to her bedroom and laid her elephant gently on the bed.  The elephant was smiling away.

“What a nice room you have,  we will have so much fun.  We can tell stories after dark and we can have tea parties.  Did you know that elephants like tea?”

She started  giggling at the thought of elephants drinking tea.

“I don’t know how my Mommy didn’t see you Miss.Elephant. but it appears that she didn’t.”

“Oh that is easy, she didn’t see me, for she is an adult.  I am only visible to children like you.”

Suzie really felt special now!

“So I can take you to school with me?”

“Of course! You can take me wherever you want. I am here for you! ”

“Well, why don’t we go downstairs and get some cookies then, does that sound good to you my elephant friend?”

“It most certainly does, lets go!”

Later that night at supper. Suzie’s Dad was talking about a problem at work.  Something about the boss not wanting to deal with it. Suzie didn’t understand a lot of what he was saying. It was adult talk, but there was one thing that stood out to Suzie and her new friend.

“Its like there is an elephant in the room now!  Everyone knows the problem but are all afraid to talk about it.”

Suzie looked at her new friend and they passed each other a secret smile.  Oh if only her parents knew that there very much was an elephant in the room. It was right in front of their eyes but they couldn’t see.

When it was bedtime Suzie’s Mommy tucked her in and Suzie said, “Tuck in Ellie too please.”

“Ellie? Who is Ellie?”

“She’s my new friend Mommy, my best friend. Its Ellie the Elephant!”   and Suzie put her arm around Ellie who was lying right beside her.

Her Mommy smiled and tucked in Ellie and then kissed Suzie on the cheek.

“An elephant! Oh dear! Won’t she take up your whole bed!” her Mommy said.  Suzie giggled, ” No Mommy, she can make herself small when she is inside, so she’ll be fine. She will fit fine on the couch downstairs with me too. Though I told her she had to share the popcorn when we watch a movie.”

Suzie’s Mommy tucked the covers a little tighter for Ellie was a little cold.

“Sweet dreams my dear, don’t stay up too late talking to Ellie.”, her Mommy said,  as she winked and walked out the door.

Walking to her room, Suzie’s Mom opened up her cedar chest. She breathed in the smell as her mind drifted back in time.  She dug down deep and found what she wanted. She squeezed it tight as she remembered back to when she was 5 years old. She remembered her friend who her parents couldn’t see.

One day her friend went away, they bid farewells, Suzie’s Mommy was growing up.  She went away but Suzie’s Mommy had never forgotten her and one day she saw the stuffed elephant sitting on the shelf in a old toy store.  It so resembled how she had pictured her old friend in her mind that she  decided she needed to buy it. Now she was holding it in her arms again as a tear fell down her cheek.

“Thanks for coming back my friend and spreading your love once more!