March 26, 2009 elephant
Big is beautiful. Big, at a distance, is beautiful. I suspect a herd of elephants running toward me might not look too beautiful. Or one of those big giant elephant feet (do you call them feet?) hovering over your head as you lie helpless on the ground; that might not be beautiful either.
Our Katie of Elliott's true love, she introduced us to beautiful elephants. Actually, Katie's sister Heather; she is the keeper of the elephants when the Ringling Bros Circus comes to town. It is tradition now that on the last day of the circus we jump into our cars and make our way south
to the Gateway in SLC. We plant ourselves on the side of the street at the given hour, knowing that at 9:43 there will be elephants on parade. We peer into the darkness to the east until we see the large shadows lumbering from side to side in the
middle of the road, Heather's hand at the neck of the leader, headed west to the railway where the train cars lay in waiting. Our little ones are scooped onto our shoulders, cameras are cocked and ready. Soon, in apparent slow motion, a string of huge leathery beasts files one in front of the other past us, their snouts wrapped around the tail of the pachyderm in front of them, the littlest ones double timing it with their relatively short legs, their long hoses of noses reaching up to their mama's tails, the same way Anna Bella holds my hand when we cross the street. They are remarkably silent as they move, oblivious to our watchful eyes, unaffected by our curiosity. Perhaps the circus has made them this way. Our grandchildren call out, "Hi Dumbo" to the baby beast. It pulls at a tender place in me. Leave it to Disney to make these creatures take over one's heart. Sweet little Dumbo, underdog of the three ring circus. Tender unassuming Dumbo who was so loved my his mama.
I beg Kate, when I get to see her, to sing to me just one song. Just one, that's all. I would take endless portions of her gift if she would give it, but I have learned to be happy with one, because the sweetness of it hovers like a firefly on a warm summer night, and I can imagine it over and over in my mind and make it last. The other day she sang "Baby Mine", from Dumbo
, while everyone else had gone to bed and I was doing my word of the day writing. Her fingers paced themselves across the strings of the guitar and her voice wrapped the melody through the cool spring night there in Nauvoo, like the thick blue ribbon the bluebirds on Snow White tie in a bow on screen. I sat at the computer, trying to think, trying to write, and my tears dropped onto the keyboard as she sang. How I love that girl. When she sings she is at once a fully grown angel and my little two-year old who sang before she talked. She is tender and stubborn and strong and beautiful and to me she is absolutely complete when music is flowing out of her. Blessed will be the child who sleeps in her arms under the canopy of her song.