Days of Their Lives


February 18, 2014
We’ve pulled into a rest stop, probably one of only a few in the entire Ngorogoro Conservation Area. I saw a few large elephants on the way in, larger and closer than I’ve seen so far, so while the others are inside, I’m darting about the carpark, hoping to catch sight of the magnificent creatures.

And then I see them. Gray shapes slowly moving through a grove of trees, delicately feeding. It’s impossible to count how many there are as they wend their way through the vegetation–now you see them, now you don’t. I would guess about eight mothers and calves, but I never see all of them at one time, so it’s hard to say. For something so big they are very good at hiding.

They’re obviously a group. There is some dimension of communication happening that I can’t tune in on, but it doesn’t matter. They know what they are doing. They’ve been doing it for so long now.

The young ones sometimes do the adorable things that young elephants do; sometimes the mothers respond, sometimes they are ignored.

As I stand and watch, what I see before me seems almost like a staged drama, so graceful and precise are the movements of these huge animals as they feed. An elephant drama, played to an elephant script, in elephant time.

And then, slowly, they are gone. I can’t quite see where they went, but they are definitely not here any more.

On the way back to camp I wonder if I saw real animals, or was it just ghosts?

Let’s make this the play that never ends. Contribute to:
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