The Long Memories of Elephants and Hearts
I like to be reminded that the world is a mysterious place and its inhabitants are just as mysterious. It seems to be a given. Mind you, I like that reminder to be positive and leave me filled with happy-happy-joy-joy but another given is that those reminders come in all sorts of ways. This past weekend I was reminded, in both joyful and tearful ways, of the mysteries of life.
As folks in the United States know, it was Mother’s Day on Sunday. I had a lovely day with my absolutely favorite four people in this world and that was a lovely gift in and of itself. And then last night, I ran across a link that stopped me for a bit. The story broke of the “Elephant Whisperer” Lawrence Anthony’s death and the apparent mourning of his death by the elephants he fought to protect. The article does a nice job of giving the history of Anthony’s work with the elephants as well as the mystery of how they knew he had died.
I love the times when we recognize that there is much more at work in this world than what we put into motion. Yes, we may have those nifty opposable thumbs and all those other perks to being the type of mammals that we are. However, I think we too easily overlook something powerful just because we can oppose those thumbs of ours.
We are all connected.
I visualize that connection as if all lives on this planet are connected to one another, much like how we can see the root system of a strawberry plant connecting plant after plant after plant. All individual plants and yet all connected by stolons. (In case you are curious, these new plants are actually clones of the original plant.)
Yes, I realize I’m a bit of a softy and I also look for reasons to support my life-long-held belief that all life is connected. But over and over I have found that the ripples of one life are destined to impact other lives. If you are open to seeing the ways we are all connected, you will see those connections. So when I read about elephants traveling miles to suddenly show up at the home of a man that cared for them, I see that as the powerful energy in the cosmos reaching them across their version of the strawberry’s stolon.
Most people I know admit to having some experience where (s)he has felt an odd connection to another person and acted upon it. Perhaps he felt a family member was with him in spite of that family member’s recent death. Or perhaps she reunited with a long-ago relationship because of a dream. In my case (well, one of many), I woke up one morning with a strong need to phone my grandmother. She was dying of throat cancer at the time and I “knew” I needed to talk to her that day. She died not long after that. Experiences such as those remind me that we are all connected at a deeper level even though we often do not act upon those connections.
But in our day-to-day lives we feel those connections as well. We are pulled to other people; we are pulled to connect with other people. Those connections lift us up and help us through our rough patches.
I recently got word that a dear little boy is facing some potential health concerns. Living in the technological era that we do, his mama texted me. I was so thankful I always have my phone on and usually on my person. I spent this morning with her and her sweet boy and was reminded how much I value the connection there – two moms who worry over their babies.
While I spent my Mother’s Day with my happy and fairly healthy kids, she had spent her first Mother’s Day in the hospital. I smiled and laughed several times yesterday. She cried.
This morning, my heart felt so heavy for her.
And yet, I find peace in my heavy heart. Because without it I would have no proof of the connection I have to her. Like elephants traveling the distance, we humans also feel for one another and because of one another.
When I told Littlest that I was going to go be with my friend and her baby this morning, he reminded me of what he had said when I first got the news. “Mama, I will hold him in my heart.”
Which is where we hold all our loved ones, including the ones we love as part of our larger family. We hold them in our hearts and in our thoughts.
They say that elephants have long memories…let it be the same for all of us as well.