While in Timbavati Game Reserve in South Africa last month, our merry little band of wildlife lovers and photography obsessives, came across this somewhat bedraggled bull elephant. One ear pierced with big holes in several areas, the other ear collapsed due to some cartilage issue, this elephant had the war-weary look of a creature who’d obviously been through a lot.
He seemed sweet, not that he did anything tangible to prove it, it was just a feeling I had. He slowly walked toward us on the sand road we were on, grabbing leaves along the way in an elephant version of a movable feast. He wasn’t phased by our approach, like so much of the wildlife in that area he was used to the jeeps and all the people who stared.
I imagined that if he were a human he’d be that guy that was wise beyond his years, a man who had enough tragedy in his life to realize that it wasn’t worth sweating the small stuff. A man worse for wear but at peace with his place in the world.
The elephant finally reached us, viewing us with a modicum of interest as we passed each other. If this had been in the days of the wild west we would have just nodded and tipped our hats at each other, affording each other a moments respect before moving on.
I would give anything to know his story.