Posted by: Dennie | October 5, 2013

Elephants and Emotions

Emotion flooded me again yesterday.

It’s ridiculous, this “change of life,” as it was referred to  in the old days.  Archie Bunker (paraphrased) said to Edith, “If you’re going to change, hurry up and do it.” I wish it would hurry up and be done. Three years of emotional roller coaster has been quite long enough, thank you very much.

But my body and emotional health is not what this post is about.

What I experienced yesterday was not just menopause wreaking havoc. It was the emotion of the day. The International March For Elephants.

My husband Dennis and I drove into the the city  with plenty of time to spare and parked in a garage two minutes from where the walk was to begin at 42nd and 12th Ave.

When we arrived only a handful of people were milling around, identified by the iWorry tee shirts they wore.

I worried that the turnout would be a bomb.

But soon others began to dribble in, first a few at a time, then ten, twenty. Within an hour hundreds had gathered.

The crowd comprised an eclectic mix of humanity. Black, white, young, old, some who appeared wealthy, some not so much.

2013-10-04 012

Eavesdropping on conversations, I heard snippets of talk as varied as the participants themselves. But I hung back from the crowd, feeling  unusually withdrawn and somber. This was not a gathering of celebration to me, but one of desperation.  I was glad for my sunglasses to hide the sporadic tears which came as  thoughts swirled through my head. Thoughts of the elephants half-way around the world.  Animals who have no idea, or maybe they do, of the expanse of death and destruction decimating their lives and existence. Thoughts of how this day is a good thing, but sadness for its’ necessity. I couldn’t speak.  I could only attempt to suppress the tears of sadness, frustration and anger, emotions sprinkled with hope. Hope that this global gathering would make a difference, would shed light in the darkness and save lives. I felt humbled as a part of this moment, but at the same time, small and insignificant, standing in the crowd gathered together for one cause.

To save the elephants.

My husband said he’d never been a part of anything like this in his life.

Nor had I.

At ten minutes to eleven, we began to walk.  Across 12th Avenue, to  42nd street, approximately eleven blocks  to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the United Nations.

We all carried the  little  iWorry flags that had been distributed. Many sported the tee shirts. Some donned elephant hats. Women  wore elephant jewelry, necklaces, earrings. People carried homemade posters– “PeaceForElephants.com“,  “The Silent Trumpet,” “Save The Elephants,” We had pamphlets to hand out for curious onlookers along the route.  We were individuals with one purpose; united in a mammoth group as peaceful, loving creatures.

Like the elephants.

We reached our destination ninety minutes later. A platform, loud speakers and a podium had been set up for guest speakers.  The program  began with a full sixty seconds of silence– for the animals who had been needlessly slaughtered, for prayer and hope to spread the seeds of this movement, for silent tribute to all who have worked, and continue to work tirelessly for this incredibly important effort.

I stood in the warmth of the afternoon sunshine, listening to the silence amid the noise of the city. And the tears came again. This time, I let them flow, not caring whether anyone noticed.

The speakers shared their thoughts, experience and dire yet vital messages… Ivory is not a symbol of wealth; it is a symbol of death. Thirty-five thousand elephants  had been shot last year, a number greater than the entirety of those who still survive in Kenya. Six poachers  apprehended in the last six months-twice as many as in the last three years. Elephant killing has become a genocide crisis…

Of  all the speakers, I was impressed by Paula Kahumbu, executive director of the Kenya Land Dr. Paula KahumbuConservation Trust and WildlifeDirect, and chairman of the Friends of Nairobi National Park. A  woman of obvious intelligence and passion, her message was simple and articulate. The killing needs to stop. Knowledge is power and strength lies in numbers. We can make this happen.

I was most moved by the speaker who referred to himself as “a storyteller,”  a description that falls far short of his bio.  A Fulbright Scholar, former CPA  and international lawyer turned full-time writer, Bryan Christy  is a National
Bryan ChristyGeographic
contributing writer, and an author and speaker on wildlife crime. His was a message of urgency concern and passion. Elephant killing is an abomination.

After the program,  walking back to our car and during the ride home, I expressed the questions I’ve been recently asked myself again and again;  What happened to me? Where and how did I miss the boat that carried my calling? Why didn’t I find my path?  How can I make a difference? How can I reach out and touch people the way in which Paula Kahumbu and Bryan Christy have done?

I want to spread awareness. I want to make a difference. I want to leave my mark. Not for notoriety. Not for wealth or fame. But to help. I want my existence here on this planet not to have been merely take up space.

But I need to find my boat. I’m still listening for my calling. Searching for my purpose. I hope a part of it will include helping to save the elephants.

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Responses

  1. […] make some small difference. This challenge encouraged me  to reiterate my posts of October 3rd and 5th and spread even more […]

  2. A great blog for a great cause. Thanks for all you’ve done


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