Africa Continues…

Elephant with broken leg on Masai Mara

I am two days home from the journey to Kenya, and not even close to recovered from the jet lag. I feel my life here pressing back in on me, in a good way, but still feel so many stories from the journey deserve to be told. I turned my Page-a-Day Zen Calendar today and read the quote: “The universe is made up of stories, not atoms.” – Muriel Rukeyser. If I don’t tell the stories of this journey to Africa then who will tell them? I want to commit to write more of them before I move on to here and now, while the stories remain vivid.

Today I want to tell about an old-ish elephant that we saw on the Masai Mara. After our time in Nairobi and Kibera, we made a journey over very rough terrain, 7 hours of driving which included having to drive through a river and getting stuck for a time in it, to reach the Masai Mara. This, like the Serengeti in Tanzania, is thousands of miles of untouched land where herds of wildlife can be seen in their natural environments. Experienced drivers will take you out into the plains to find and observe the animals.

Earlier in the day we had had a sacred moment in time after Carter and John, our driver, spotted elephants so far in the distance I didn’t understand how they knew them from trees or bushes. We went their direction and indeed found ourselves in the midst of a large family of elephants, one baby so tiny it was just the size of a large dog. It is priceless to see the elephants in their natural habitat, eating the grass, spraying mud on their backs, caring for their young. The little ones move so close to Mama or Papa that their bodies are touching the whole time. They are all obviously very affectionate with one another, and work as a team. One elephant came right up to our van, just a couple of feet away, seemingly to size us up. We all held our breath. Considering one another for a very long few minutes, we must have met with approval as she moved away and rejoined the group. Had she sensed that we meant harm, I think our little van could have been turned over and crushed in an instant.

Later in the day, Carter and John again spotted an elephant in the far distance. It was noticeable, even from the far view, that this was an enormous creature, like a small mountain. When we drove up to observe him we were in awe. Soon, however, it became obvious that something was wrong. The front left leg of this elephant was very swollen, and he could not walk. As we watched we could see him try to take steps, but he was completely unable. His leg was broken. How would it be possible to put all of that weight on a broken leg? It wasn’t. He was stuck there. There were no other elephants around. Our driver knew animals, and could read that this one was maybe 50 years old, middle aged. Elephants live to be 70 or more, so this one still had some years to go if not for this injury. Our hearts were broken as we watched him. He could not make his way to get grass to eat or find water, literally unable to take a step. When we left, we seemed to understand that this elephant would die there, just where he was, alone. It was, and is, almost too much to bear.

I have not been able to get this lovely creature out of my mind. When I went to bed that night all I could see, out of a vast day of witnessing prides of lions, and herds of amazing wildlife, was him. I seem to think on him several times an hour. I have sent love from my heart to his and wondered – does he receive it? How does this work? I seem to feel, whether just because I need to I can’t tell, that he receives something from the love I send and it comforts him.

I wish I could drive back to see him, and find out how he is. But only in my mind, and in my heart, can I go. So I do.

6 Responses to “Africa Continues…”

  1. ljcollins Says:

    Tayria, I am loving all these stories. Keep telling them. This one is really heartbreaking, but somehow that this creature was witnessed matters, doesn’t it?

  2. Darita-Rose Alden Says:

    I am totally and completely sure that he did receive the love! God is everywhere, and in everything, and God is love! It was no accident that you all saw this sad time; if nothing else, the purpose was for this magnificent creature to feel loved in this timing of the ending of this particular life. I am sure that the love was used in some way by Universe. Maybe this elephant was taking on something for us, for the world. Love is never wasted, never!

  3. Jeanne Day Says:

    Please keep the stories coming. And here is one back to you.
    I have been doing some Matrix Energetics sessions and last week when the healer touched me she said “I see a white elephant” I said “I have a friend who has just spent two weeks in Africa, maybe she contacted one…she took my prayer and a feather there for me.”
    A few minutes later she said “there is some kind of gazzele nuzzling you–the kind with the long straight horns–like an African one”. I said “My friend Tayria must have really connected with the life there; two African animals in one session”. Thank you Gaia, thank you Tayria!

  4. Tayria Ward Says:

    Jeanne, this is astonishing. We saw hundreds of gazelles, herds and herds of them. They are such gorgeous creatures. It is fascinating to know the connection, that my being with them, your being in touch with me, those animal spirits come through. Wow. So much beauty and mystery involved. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Sarah Hallowell Says:

    I feel like this elephant really teaches us the meaning of “heart work” that you mentioned in an earlier blog.
    He is the teacher …..
    breaking all our hearts.

  6. Katherine Parker Says:

    It has been 25 years since we camped in Masai Mara. The memories are vivid. Isn’t it wonderful that they will remain with you? I will think about your elephant. Love,Katherine

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