Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The circle of life.


Perhaps the deepest, greatest part of life is the celebration of birth and, hopefully, the celebration of a full life lived. The celebration of death. It is sad and perhaps even something we as humans fear, but there is a peacefulness in death, found surely by the one who's life it was.
It is with this feeling and understanding, that I can write these words. It brings me peace to say that this elephant cow, this matriarch, mother, and grand mother, passed away at a ripe old age, surrounded by all those close to her. Her herd would have known her their whole lives, as she would have known them, just as she would have known her own mother and family that went before her.
The medical details are not important, the fact that she lived a full life, a rich life and died of old age, is. That experience; to have shared life, and in the end, death, is an important one for every elephant in her herd; just as it was for her over the years. It is how we learn and share the circle of our lives.
From the tracks the morning she was found, it was clear that the herd had been around her as and after she passed away. From what I have seen over the years in the bush, I think humans are perhaps the only mammals that sometimes fear death. I dare say, even to the point of keeping us from living sometimes. In the wild I have seen many battles to live, and always animals will fight and hold on to life with a tenacity and instinct we can well appreciate, but never have I perceived fear of death in wild, free animals.
Were it not for those around us, to observe, "us" would not even exist. In the end, it is those we share our lives with, share experiences and moments with, that give meaning to  life, and every moment we can do so enriches that experience. Every moment.

Written by Pieter Pretorius


(Note: WE would like to thank Djuma Game Reserve, the Sabi Sands and Jurie and Pippa Moolman for fighting so hard for the rights of wild animals to be wild, and always allowing us to share this with you. Also, WE would like to thank Chitwa Chitwa and Charl Brink for giving us the opportunity to visit this cow on their land. Finally, WE would like to thank you. Because it is your wisdom, willingness to learn and trust in those of us that value and protect the rights of wild animals to live lives as unaffected by humans as possible, that makes it all possible. She has gone, but her life lives on. Her calf will grow, and one day she may be the matriach. The circle of life is perfect. WE are happy it happened like this.)

12 comments:

Holly Wilson said...

Thank you, Pieter. Life is a gift to be lived each day, not in regret of the past or in fear of the future, but in the joy of the present.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, Pieter! Thank you for posting this...
Sharon (Austria)

Anonymous said...

So happy she lived a full life and her family was around her when she passed away. Thank you for your article. Ruth McD:D

Teresa said...

Thank you, Pieter. Well said.

JoAnne McCulloch said...

Thank you Pieter for a wonderfully heartfelt atrticle on our mommy ellie that says what most of feel. She lived a long and wonderful live and raised wonderful bablies, one of which may become the new monarch, I hope so. She lived long enogh to show baby who would be taking care of him/her so the chagne would not be as tramatic. The herd will give him or her special treatment because baby is reailty. She died with her family and friend with her, not by a predator as could have happened. We humans will miss her in our way and the herd will miss her in there way. Animals are mmuch better equipped to handle these situations than we humans are. They may come back and repest her bpmes after the carcass is gone. Maybe we will be there it see that. That is when you realize how much they care for each other. Rest in peace, beati-
uful Mother Elephant. Your memories will be with us forever. Jo Anne McCulloch
White Lake, Micigan USA

Anonymous said...

Thank you Pieter for a wonderfully heartfelt atrticle on our mommy ellie that says what most of feel. She lived a long and wonderful live and raised wonderful bablies, one of which may become the new monarch, I hope so. She lived long enogh to show baby who would be taking care of him/her so the chagne would not be as tramatic. The herd will give him or her special treatment because baby is reailty. She died with her family and friend with her, not by a predator as could have happened. We humans will miss her in our way and the herd will miss her in there way. Animals are mmuch better equipped to handle these situations than we humans are. They may come back and repest her bpmes after the carcass is gone. Maybe we will be there it see that. That is when you realize how much they care for each other. Rest in peace, beati-
uful Mother Elephant. Your memories will be with us forever. Jo Anne McCulloch
White Lake, Micigan USA

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Pieter.
Irena

Destinee said...

Well Said Pieter.
Being able to see all these animals in the wild is a fantastic Idea everyone at Wild Earth and Sabi Sands has gone to great lengths to share with the world. I am truley grateful for these experinces. Please, continue on with all the great work you all do for us, and know how we the viewers appreciate the great efforts you strive to bring us.

Destinee

luvthebirds said...

Thank you, Pieter. The experience we all shared with this ellie, her calf, and among her herd was special. While I still read your words with a little heaviness in my heart, I know that the ellie was able to die with her herd, as a wild, free elephant should. And I celebrate the fact that, hard as it is to picture, her body provided nourishment for the Styx pride and other birds and animals in the area. As you said, "the circle of life". I am so happy to be able to view Djuma and its wildlife with WildEarth.

Anonymous said...

Written with deep feelings and respect for all that is out there.
Thank you for these words and so allowing all of us to close a chapter in the infinite book of the circle of life.
Robert

Anonymous said...

Thank you for these words. It's what I felt and thought.
"There is no ending, no beginning
All there is is change"
That is the circle of life and that's how it should be.

Irma keller said...

Wonderful sensitive article!
I am happy that I was privileged to watch her at least for the remaining days of her life.