It began as the most beautiful day in my memory. Mother was browsing on the edge of the forest clearing, the shadows of the leaves making lovely dappled patterns on the wrinkled gray of her body which rippled occasionally in response to the flies that gathered to enjoy the morning with us. From where I stood at a distance, the gentle movement of her skin made undulating patterns of light and dark gray speckles - a beauty I will always remember. My aunties and my older sister browsed with me along the edge of the savanna, each one reaching out occasionally to touch me with the tip of her trunk. Since the day of my birth, I had seldom gone more than half and hour without being touched tenderly or playfully by one of our group of eleven. The grass beneath our feet still wet with the morning dew contrasted with the growing heat of the sun upon our backs. In that moment, my heart reached out to Mother, sister and aunties, to fly and tree and dewdrop, all of us merged in the dawn of the new day.

     A sudden crunching of branches just ahead of us broke the meditation of the morning with a sudden unfamiliar sensation that made me turn and look towards the security of mother some fifty yards from where I stood. Before I could take more than a few step in her direction I felt a horrible presence behind me and knew that life would never be the same again. The humans with their large domesticated elephants exploded from the jungle at the edge of the savanna. Before I could cry to mother for help, they were upon me dropping a heavy rope around my neck and stopping me in my tracks. As I struggled in the direction of mother, the humans dropped another rope pushing my voice deep within me and enveloping my heart in a shroud of dark terror. Mother cried and trumpeted for me to no avail. Another group of elephants and men now stood between us making it impossible for mother to come to my aid. My mouth and trunk reached heavenward in a silent plea for help, but it was no use. With their ropes around me, the humans turned away from my family and I was pulled helplessly behind them struggling with all the might I could muster. I could hear mother scream in the background as I disappeared with the men into the darkness of the jungle.

     What seemed an eternity later we arrived in a small jungle clearing where many men and some older elephants worked busily moving fallen trees. I was tied to a post so tightly that I could barely turn to see what was happening around me. No food or water was given to me. Now and then men would gather around me shouting and chanting and hitting me with sticks until I felt I would loose my mind. For days the men came and repeated the chanting and hitting. I cried and cried until suddenly I could cry no longer. On the third day, I fell to the ground in silence and finally they left me alone. I knew that I would never again feel the comfort of mothers trunk or nourishment from her beautiful gray breasts. All that day and into the night I was paralyzed by a grief so terrible I thought I would surely die. An old man with wrinkled skin rather like mothers brought me some water in a bucket and something to eat. I drank a little, but couldn't eat. The old man was the only one who treated me with kindness touching me with his cool wrinkled hands. He looked as sad and worn as I must have looked.

     Several weeks later when I was considered tame, I was loaded into a crate and the crate was put onto a huge and gray machine with wheels. I was taken on a terrifying ride and then removed from the wheeled machine and loaded on an even more horrifying gray machine with wings. It was dark, hot and suffocating. I became much too terrified to move or to protest in any way. I heard some men talking about my being another one headed for the “big top” and I became sick not knowing what that might mean. Other animals in other crates occupied the space with me. Some were unfamiliar and didn’t speak my language. One other elephant, appearing about my own age, stood nearby. I tried to comfort her and to draw from her some comfort for myself but to no avail. She was sick with fright, tears poured from her tiny eyes and the smell of death enveloped her. Being in the company of such frightened sick creatures was worse than being alone. My only comfort was a calm and steady presence just over my left shoulder. If I turned to try and look at it disappeared. My mother had spoken to me from the time I was born about my angel, but I never really felt the angel’s presence until now. Even though I was unable to see her I drew comfort from her soft presence just the same. 

     After what seemed an eternity of horror in the dark belly of that huge vibrating machine, I became aware of light and voices as the boxes and crates that occupied the space with me were jostled about roughly. Unfamiliar and frightening noises and smells assailed me as I was wheeled into the glaring light of a strange and terrifying world. 

     See Barbara's Case Study in the Flower Essence section for information on Barbara's treatment with Anaflora flower essences. See the article The Elephants Speak for more words from Barbara

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