Saturday, September 8, 2012

My elephant adventure

I wanted to share with you an amazing video shot by my friend and fellow quilter Cynthia England while we were on safari together in Kruger National Park in South Africa last month. I was busy shooting still photographs (you can see me – or at least the back of my head – when she pans to the left through our vehicle).

Our guide, Sophiso, went off-road when we saw a few elephants in the distance. As we got closer, he slowed down but kept driving, and we were soon very near a large herd (about 30) elephants. Cynthia started shooting as the elephants came closer to investigate. Then the largest male came to the front of the vehicle and looked our guide right in the eye. He kept his eyes on us until the rest of the herd – including some darling babies – got past us. 

I could tell that our guide was a little nervous. He kept looking to the left and the right, and afterward I asked him about it. He said that he was a bit worried once he realized that the elephants had surrounded us, so that we could not back out. And we certainly couldn’t go forward with the big male standing his ground. 

Being this close to wild elephants gave me goosebumps and brought me to tears. You’ll notice that we were all very quiet until the elephants moved farther away. Partly because we were not sure if we were in danger, and partly because we were in total awe of these massive, intelligent, beautiful creatures. We were also trying to absorb everything, to remember this moment for the rest of our lives. To hear them breathing.

Most of us have a few experiences in our lives that are so amazing, so special, that we remember them always. This was one of them.