Friday, August 10, 2012

Elephants




I was proud to learn that my home state has the nation’s largest refuge for elephants. The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee covers over 2700 acres, providing a natural habitat setting for elephants who have been retired from zoos and circuses.  Many have spent most of their lives in confinement.  How wonderful that they can spend their remaining years doing what comes naturally.

For most humans, doing what comes naturally is a foreign concept, particularly after early childhood.    Instructed learning occupies large portions of life.  It’s more than the traditional school environment.  Children attend dance lessons, karate instructions and are coached in organized sports.  Adults are not exempt either.  Whether we go to on-the-job training, hire a life or audition coach or participate in a sky diving class, we are seeking to extend our capabilities beyond those that are naturally innate to us as human beings.    I have no complaint with that, but I wonder if it makes us insensitive to the needs of other creatures.    If they could speak, I’m sure that no elephant would volunteer to learn tricks or become a circus performer.  While humans may happily spend many hours indoors, no elephant would choose to spend most of their days within the confines of a cage.  My hat is off to The Elephant Sanctuary for the work that they do.

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