Having dealt with rather aggressive elephants in many other biomes, I am shaking at the knees before the young bull is even at thirty meters. He on the other hand isn’t aware that I am near. Or if he does, shows no indication that he does.
He grazes peacefully at the soft green grass, tearing at it as if in slow motion. An aura oozes off his giant grey body. He seems not to have a care in the world, and if he intends to go anywhere, or has a need to do something before sunset, he shows no urgency for it. It is merely a peaceful existence. As though he knows his purpose, and in a way, knows mine too.
It is my first afternoon with the elephants in this area.
Around me the dense impenetrable thicket seems like a wall of jungle. Although I feel a stranger here, I can sense that the elephant feels happy here. It is his sanctuary.
In time, the Gorah would become my sanctuary too, and the elephants that surround her would teach me more than I ever knew about them or myself for that matter, and of the amazing world they live in. I didn’t realize then, but as I watched the young bull feed in his peaceful existence that afternoon, that I would begin a journey that would change my outlook on life forever. Energy! That everything exists on energy. There is a spiritual connection that links us all, and everything into one cosmic being. How crazy the thought, that people could imagine they could talk to animals. The elephants would teach me this. That indeed, we can communicate with the natural world. In fact, we can communicate with anything once we believe we can.
It seemed here in this unusual place, that the elephants were as peaceful in their home like impala on the plains of the savannas in the bush veld and grassland areas in other parts of Africa. There was not that unpleasant aura of estrangement with the elephants here. It seems that their aura extended to include those that came to view them, rather than aggressively ensure that they don’t come near enough to even sense a part of their intricate lives.
There was a deep sense of trust. In a way they almost beckoned one to come a little closer, and at last understand that elephants were greater souls than mere eating morsels. They were not just giant bodies that fed and fed and fed, and opened pathways and distributed seeds. Their purpose to being here was greater than that, as was mine.
It would take me three years to at last comprehend the intensity and depth of the elephant world. At first ‘strange coincidences” would occur time and time again, before I began to put the pieces of this intricate puzzle together.
At times I would doubt. At times I would convince myself that I were a stranger to it all, and if not perhaps a little on the crazy sometimes. When I no longer had the strength to keep the walls up, I would find myself comforted by this deeply spiritual world, and allow the elephants to envelop me in their aura, and understand, if for just a little while, that we are all so much bigger than we seem, a part of so much more than we understand. The elephants were known once as the Great People, and this truly is what they are. In time they taught me, that I too, was a part of a “Great People” and that we were divinely connected to each other, and everything else.
I sat alongside the young bull elephant, not daring to breathe. My mind told me that I was going against all logic that everything I had been taught as a guide was being neglected, and at any minute the young tusker would bear down on me with his tusks. My heart raced, and the thumping in my chest starting to ring uncontrollably in my head. The bull will kill me, I am too close, and he is too dangerous, I said, over and over again.
My soul fought against me. That strange ‘go with your gut’ feeling began to take over. I wasn’t used to following the voice in my head. I felt I wasn’t experienced enough for that yet. I tried hard to ignore my textbook and trust my instinct. What if this time my gut was wrong? I didn’t move. He was too close, and I dared not even breathe.
All my faith was placed in the bull. I felt myself being drawn into a new dimension, one I wanted so hard to believe but one I couldn’t be certain to trust yet. It seemed that the bush was talking to me. “Don’t move”, it said, “I have something to show you”.
The young elephant ventured close to me, his large eyelashes glinting in the sunlight as he picked at the soft grass which had sprouted after recently good rains. I was intrigued at the power he presented, yet which he chose to withhold. I was in the company of a fantastic aura, a hugely powerful being. He barely blinked an eye at my presence. A sudden calmness soothed me. I seemed to be the only one concerned in the situation. The bull, it appeared couldn’t be bothered with pummeling tusks into something so insignificant. At that moment, the grass was far sweeter.
I relaxed a little. I breathed a little. And in that moment, allowed for the first time, to willing let the bull into my own aura. I felt encompassed by an awesome comfort. His solitude replaced my own loneliness. For the first time I was allowing the myth to enter my realm. All that I had imagined as a child about elephants began to spill over. It was as though the awesome tusker in my dreams had at last become real. And in that instant, I was no longer afraid.