These gentle giants (an absolutely accurate name for them) really do seem to just bring a sense of peace, of happiness, an awareness that we really all do need to slow down and enjoy life a little bit more, to any situation where one is able to be so intimate with them.
I’m not particularly spiritual. Though I do identify as belonging to a particular religion, I don’t actually believe in much of it, nor has it been practiced since abandoning eleven years of religious schooling – besides the occasional mass attendance or baptism. Neither do I believe or participate in any other form of labeled spiritually, whether it be meditating at a yoga retreat, or believing that people have coloured auras, and that the most spiritual and in tuned of us can actually see these radiating colours. Though if I had to use the word, to attach it to a particular activity or state of mind which could be described as “spiritual”, in a humanistic psychology sense, I think playing with recused elephants in the Laos rainforest comes pretty close.
Unlike many elephants throughout South East Asia, particulary Thailand, which are used for tourist purposes, these guys (and girls) are treated completely humanly by their life long carers. All of them were either recused or bought off keepers who were not so nice to them, and have been given a new life, and for a good cause as well – all funds go back into the local community.
My elephant friend for the day, the youngest and only male of the group, and his carer. Just watching these guys handle and play with their elephants, you can see a genuine affection and love they have for each other.
First we climbed upon our elephants, with the help of their carers, and off we headed into the rainforest!
Everyone was so excited!
After a while in between the trees, we emerged at the Nam Khan River, and after a quick dip through a (not so shallow) river, we were on it’s banks where the elephants enjoyed playing on it’s edge and munching down on some tasty bamboo.
After a few hours messing around and enjoying the moment, we headed back up to the top of the for a little more time with the animals which we had had such an amazing morning with, and to say goodbye.