October 4, 2010
Usually when the caregiver at the Q-Barn feeds the Girls at 10:00 pm, Liz eats in the barn and Billie and Frieda eat outside. Naturally by the end of the night, Billie and Frieda are always very eager to come in the barn to scavenge Liz’s leftovers. One night this past week was no different, Billie went right over to wait at the barn gate with Frieda beside her. When Liz finished eating the caregiver went to open the barn gate, and as soon as he did, Frieda became elated; she craned her head up high, curled her trunk, and made her whale-whining sound.
Billie then did something that was totally out of character for her; she looked over at Frieda as if to say, "After you.” The caregiver was shocked! Normally Billie would charge through a brick wall to get a snack, but this time she stepped aside and let Frieda pass by first. She stayed right on Frieda's heels, so she was definitely still eager for the possibility of extra treats. Perhaps when Billie saw Frieda's excitement, she decided it would be nice to let her have this one! Amazingly generous for Billie, since she LOVES food.
On Wednesday the 29th, 11 years ago, Bunny came to the Sanctuary. We think often of the Girls and Boy that have passed through our lives here at the Sanctuary. Sometimes we may be swept up in all that goes into a day, and be unaware of what day it is. An anniversary may slip us by, but that does not mean by any stretch that all those who have passed are not in our thoughts. Their pictures are on our computers, on the shirts we wear, on the cups from which we drink—and their sisters are a constant reminder of what they brought to the Sanctuary.
It is still hard to look at Shirley and not notice Bunny's missing presence. These moments are not sad, but rather, they are actually filled with laughter as we recall Bunny's trunk tug-of-war with Shirley, or her frequent trumpeting in her own ear—or in Shirley's, loud enough to get a big squint! Remembering their nightly celebration every time they came into the barn brings pure joy. Watching Bunny's remembrance video refreshes that sense of awe elephants have when they first arrive, as shown on Bunny's face; their touching a living tree for the first time, or grazing on grass that stretches as far as the eye can see, even touching another elephant—which some had not done in so very, very long.
So though the time passes quickly, and there is enough work to keep us busy from sunrise till well past sunset; we always make time to think about all of those who have left us. We have been blessed to share time with them; they all have their lessons to teach, smiles to offer, and permanent places in our hearts. And beyond it all, what they do for each other knows no boundaries. They are each perfect, in their own way.