She walks majestically and mightily. Through the fog and the rain, through the scorching sun on the brightest day. From dawn to dusk, sunrise to sun set, till all the brightest colours are bleached from the sky and replaced with a veil of cold curling mist.
She walks on, never slowing and never faltering. Her heavy footfalls like canons on the dusty dessert floor. Her frigid gaze fixed to the horizon slipping occasionally to her son. He is the reason she must persist with this journey.
Sand coats her lungs and she sneezes; she doesn’t know how much longer she can keep going. Nevertheless, she must continue. It is not her life that she cares for, only that of her son. Four weeks of age and already he has walked hundreds of kilometres on his four wrinkled feet.
The smell all around them is of burning sand, hot and raw. The sun seems to be smiling cruelly down upon them as if to say that you can never escape. But the sun is not the only monsters that this mother and her calf are running from.
They walk on both aware of the danger trailing and tailing them. She feels calm there is no sound of danger. No sound. She looks around incomprehensible horror fills her. Then she sees him. Her son is staggering and lurching forward trying to keep up, but his little legs are quivering unable to sustain his weight after such a gruelling, arduous journey. He totters and teeters, trembling and topples over. A heart wrenching sound is ripped from his trunk. He seems to fall in slow motion his body thudding and crashing against the barren, desiccated land. She releases a slow agonizing breath knowing only too well what is going to happen next. She throws herself forward, forward to reach him and get there in time. To stop it. To stop them from getting him. And She does. She gets there. Just in time.
A lioness and her two cubs have been stalking the mother elephant and her child for a while. The lioness is hungry, very hungry. Just like the mother elephant was looking out for her calf this mother must look out for hers. The mother lion should not be hated for what she is about to do. It is the way of life. The food chain is the basic structure for all life and to survive in this world you must be top of the food chain. Even if that means splitting a mother from her son.
The mother elephant gets there in time. She gets there in time to save her son. When she ran to save her son and even before her legs began the motions, she knew that she could not survive. She knew what would happen before she ran, and she ran anyway. That type of unconditional love is one that can only come from a mother. The elephant mother could have turned and fled but she made a choice one that would condemn her own life but maybe save her son’s. She got there in time to save her son from dying in that moment. She knew she could only give him but a few seconds. Maybe that would be enough to escape or maybe it wouldn’t.
As the mother elephant looks up at her son for the last time every emotion is clear. In that look she tells him to run, that she loves him and that she would live the same moment a thousand times and still chose for him to run.
The elephant calf stumbles blindly through a haze of agonizing grief and pain. He crashes through the dessert not stopping and through a vast forest to a shallow stream and stumbles crashing onto the floor. He lies theer blood mixing in swirling and curling about in beautiful patterns. He lies looking up at the pure blue shy and staring. How could the world possibly go on? How could the world be so beautiful if his mother wasn’t in it?
His mother loved him enough to give her own life for his, that is how much she loved him. The elephant mother got there to save her son’s life in that moment. But she did not get there quite in time.
The elephant son lies there watching his blood swirl about and maybe he gets up and he walks through the pain on to find a new herd and join them or maybe he just lies there till the ground is a sea of red ink and his eyes are like silver marbles.