Friday, July 22, 2011

My Weekend Crush

When thinking about life’s big questions, the ones that keep us up at night and make us get up every morning, we humans always assume we are the only ones doing the thinking. Man’s dominion over nature is even written into that good book. So then it always shakes us when Earth’s other creatures display what we consider to be purely human behaviors. How can that be? We rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air.

But they do, all the time. All creatures great and small surprise us every day with their ability to both love and be loved. It is the elephant in the room and, in this case, a real one – two of them in fact. I’ve never had a crush on an elephant, though I did ride one once as a child in a zoo. And what I remember most from that very brief encounter was the elephant’s trunk. It was prickly, not smooth, and expressive, like a human lips and arms all in one. So yesterday, while lazily loafing online attempting to avoid life’s bigger questions, I met Shirley.

The PBS series “Nature” chronicled Shirley’s long road to freedom at The Elephant Sanctuary in a piece in 2000. I will only warn you once, find Kleenex before you click play.

Shirley the Elephant, Part 1 & 2


You don’t have to be human to show humanity. Aside from the basic need of food and shelter, perhaps what really makes us all truly alive is the shared desire to be loved. We all just want to feel a little less alone on this strange chunk of rock that circles a slowly dying star. They say that elephants never forget, but today possibly the best think they can do is remind us to be a little kinder to all that walk or fly or swim with us on this lonely planet. Happy weekend, all.

20 comments:

Florence said...

Wow that is so moving, and now I've got something in my eye...
I'm so happy for Jenny and Shirley to finally be reunited after all those years.
Very lovely and touching post.

sweetfire said...

Thank you so much for posting this. so moving - so beautiful. what a blessing to see friendship-so close
and that lasted so long.
yes, yes , I cried ;o)
what a wonderful story

Anonymous said...

Those damm majestic elephants,.... gone and made me get all wet in the eye area. Is there anything more beautiful. i also think it's important that all couplings of elephants have their own dog, they must be gay, god love 'em.

sue m said...

So beautiful, thank you Ms. Snarker.

Now where did I put the tissues?

URBAN Sapphic said...

Brought me to tears, one of the best posts you've made.

frannie said...

Thank you.

Kristan said...

Oh that poor man... Must have been so bittersweet for him and Shirley.

Thank you for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Man is now able to fly through the air like a bird
He’s able to swim beneath the sea like a fish
He’s able to burrow beneath the ground like a mole
Now, only if he could walk the earth like a man
this would be paradise.
-anonymous

beebee said...

I saw this several years ago and the love Solomon had for Shirley and Shirley's reunion with the elephant from her distant past has always stayed with me.

I wish we as a species could be as kind and compassionate as Solomon more of the time.

Thanks Snarker!

Ang715 said...

And you just made me admire you even more. Didn't think that was possible.

Anonymous said...

I just cried my way through that whole thing. Thank you for sharing such an amazing story :)

Anonymous said...

This is the most touching set of videos I have ever seen. Thank you for posting. I was crying like crazy for the sadness of Shirley's life and the happiness that is to come. So happy she is able to retire with a friend. I am also so happy there are such good people out there to make her life better.

nnn2u said...

So excited that you discovered one of my obsessions. I discovered Shirley the same way you did, a number of years ago and couldn't believe that I could see her "in person" on the sanctuary's elecam and follow her progress in their diaries and elenotes.

Elephants not only never forget, but are extremely intelligent, emotionally complex beings. Females actually need other females and in captivity will, if given the chance, pick another female or two to spend their lives with. Shirley had an adopted daughter, Jenny and a constant companion, Bunny. Shirley is going strong at 60+years old, despite everything she has been through.
http://www.elephants.com/elecam/

Anonymous said...

What an incredibly moving story. That shot of the two elephants near the end of the video where they're standing side by side, with trunks wrapped around each other's legs... that's one of the most touching things I've ever seen. Just beautiful. And the dedication and obvious love that Solomon exhibited to the care of Shirley is just heart-wrenching. I really don't know how ANYONE could watch these videos and NOT cry! Beautiful post, Ms. D.

tlsintx said...

ohhhh.. :)

A.J. said...

I think you might like this story from NPR http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/07/19/138478525/eagle-love-story-injured-mates-reunited-at-rehab-center?sc=fb&cc=fp

kasadilla11 said...

Thank you.

shade said...

Thank you. Another reason why I love your writing so very much. It's like having a conversation with an old and dear friend.

If only the rest of us humans could learn to respect all creatures great and small.

Amy said...

You rock SO HARD. I love all our pachyderm friends, particularly these of the long-trunked and big-eared variety.

Keep up the good work!

Bent Fabric said...

Glad I heeded your warning and got the Kleenex before watching.