Occasionally one finds a book that changes one’s perceptions about how things are. Lawrence Anthony’s “The Elephant Whisperer” is such a book. It’s actually not that easy to describe what the book is about. At one level Lawrence gives us an inside view on managing a private game reserve in South Africa – a challenging occupation involving everything from bank managers to dangerous poachers, with uncooperative wild animals, crocodiles and politics in between. At another level the book is about situations that go beyond day-to-day anecdotes and display a philosophy of conservation, and an appreciation that nature is not predictable or even always amenable to normal understanding. Then there are the elephants. And this is what Lawrence says in his prologue: “It is about the elephants - it is they who whispered to me and taught me how to listen”. This is a book about Lawrence Anthony and elephants who adopted him as their friend and let him into the periphery of their world.
You can watch Lawrence with the elephants at http://video.yahoo.com/watch/4734572/12645809
There is a still more thought-provoking story in the book. Lawrence travels quite often – trips to cities in South Africa and the like. As their relationship developed, the elephant herd took to coming down to the house to greet him on his return. Only thing is, they came down before he arrived. Perhaps they could sense approaching vehicles from some distance? Even how Lawrence drives? It seems unlikely. How about the time they were heading to the house, but turned back and melted away? It turned out that Lawrence had missed his flight back from Cape Town that day...
Michael - Thursday
The pictures and the video of Lawrence Anthony with the elephants are from his website
The Elephant Whisperer is by Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence and was published by Sedgewick & Jackson in 2009.