The Burdo Zone


Friday, March 4, 2011

Elephants In The Rain

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My favorite city running loop is called the "Zoo-Q" and circumnavigates the Woodland Park Zoo for much of it's four-mile course. Today it was a brisk, chilly drizzle as I wound through the narrow South Section and the Call Of Nature dictated a halt. I stopped and put my head on a swivel as this song played on my mp3 player:

As I was about to let fly I spied a strange movement above and to my left. I struggled to assemble the image: the top 1/3 of an elephant moving backwards along the other side of it's enclosure wall 40 meters away. an INDIAN elephant! I hope the *backwards* part of this apparition is clear. It followed this course for perhaps 25 meters before leaving my view. I've heard from those who have traveled there that India is a rich and strange land with jolting imagery everywhere. A backwards elephant in the cold Seattle drizzle with a Hindi music soundtrack may be the closest I may ever get, but it was a gift, albeit a strange and charming one.

I finished a loop, and as I passed the elephant house I looked up again. This time I beheld an African Elephant, female, apparently dining at a feeding station and positioned facing me directly. I stopped and met her gaze. Soon she paused from her feeding, then raised her trunk to vertical (her head fixed in place) as if in greeting, and exhaled a poof of breathy mist. I did my best mime with my arm as she resumed her meal, and I plip-plopped back down the trail, blessed not once but twice with mythic influence.