The deep burble vibrated up through my feet, whizzed round the pit of my stomach and caught my heart. Oh how I love that sound, that feeling, it stops me in my tracks, it makes me catch my breath.
They were near – out of sight, but so near I could feel them.
And then, rather than following the signs to the left I let my gaze turn right – to where my instinct had taken me. Before me were multiple elephants moving about with their Mahouts. It was as if I was watching another world through a window – but it was just there, mesmerising me. I returned to the path and followed where the signs wanted me to go.
I carried on walking and found some elephants snacking on coconut tree, the guide encouraging me to take some to feed them and he would take photos. I asked him to wait, I needed to say hello first. I walked up to Roxy and inhaled, lifting my hand to her trunk and resting it on her, firmly, so she could feel it through her tough skin. I exhaled. I had been waiting so long to do this. I placed my hand on her cheek and gently, purposefully and firmly moved my hands around her face and neck.
I stood feeding, touching, talking to and hugging the elephants for the best part of two and a half hours – taking time out only to eat my lunch – ordering it, continuing to play with them and then receiving a walkie talkie callout to return to the restaurant to eat!
They move so gracefully, so slowly and despite their gait – so quietly. I sank my hand against the prickly hair and tight against the deep creases of skin, I laid my cheek next to my hand, I kissed between their eyes, my hair tangling in the flapping ears. A strong hug pulling me in close, silent and gentle, wet eyes beckoning me to hold them. How I would love to just lay down and curl up with them to sleep.
Oh how I love elephants.