Elephants Both In And Out Of The Room

Elephants Both In And Out Of The Room

If I had it to do all over again, I would devote myself to the study of the elephant. Sadly, there is only so much one can cram into the too few years of a lifetime, and so I consider myself lucky to have been able to spend some time with them. Elephants are impressive creatures with a fascinating culture. Last year when my husband I spent 12 days in the bush on a trip to Africa, I noticed that no matter how many animals we were seeing, the elephants never lost their allure. Always led by a matriarch, the herd does not tolerate incest. If a bull gets out of hand and tries to mate within the family, he is ousted and becomes a rogue, but the females never leave their herd. They are devoted to one another and have been known to return to the site of the death of a...

Mad Dogs and Englishmen… or Wild Dogs and Americans

Mad Dogs and Englishmen… or Wild Dogs and Americans

Reflections on Them vs. Us As some of my readers might have noticed, I am extremely fond of animals, animal images and animal metaphors. Some say that animals differ from humans in that they don’t possess souls. I challenge anyone to live with critters for a bit and to uphold that theory. All the animals who’ve chosen to live with me (and it has been their choice) most definitely have souls, deeper souls than many of the Homo sapiens I’ve known. Last fall, my husband and I took a trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe. One of the highlights was an up-close sighting of a pack of wild dogs. You can see just how close we were to them by the outline of the vehicle in the photo. These are a seriously endangered species. Our tracker had only seen them twice in ten years....

Watch the Dung Beetle

Watch the Dung Beetle

Why I keep rolling forward to a sweet new career I am haunted by dreams of going back to college, at my current age, no less, and with a full head of gray hair. I am living with an assortment of strange young people in dorms or apartments with filthy kitchens, sinks piled with dirty dishes, and no drawers or closet space. The only restaurant in any of the many hallucinatory towns I come upon in sleep has thin soup, mashed something or other and saltine crackers. There is only one book for four classes or four books for one class, but in none of these towns does the college bookstore have any of the texts I need. I am never registered for the semester until I’ve missed too many classes to obtain credit for attending. I show up anyway, once I search forever to find...