Elephants – May We All Come Together to Save This Amazing Animal

Aug 12th

At the end of 2012 I knew I wanted to start a blog that I wrote every single day, with the goal being to not miss a single day.  I have three other blogs, but they are written in very sporadically, and I never tried to make them public.  I wanted to see if writing consistently was something I would be able to keep up.  I chose this topic because all of the yuck going on in the world just keeps me pretty upset a lot of the time, and I knew that if I needed a reason to celebrate, perhaps other people did too.  So, I gathered up the links to what seemed to be the most consistently correct lists of silly holidays and on January 1st I began.  Since that time I have had more than 10,000 page views on my blog and I want to thank each and every person who has logged in to read.  When you leave your comments, either here or on my Facebook page, letting me know that you like what you are reading, it fills me with a happy glow and it prompts me to write again the next day.  Thank you so much for your faithful consistency.  I appreciate it with everything in me.

Middle Child’s Day –   I am not a middle child.  I grew up the oldest of two, but I middle children deserve some recognition and today is the day.  The oldest is the guinea pig kid – parents are learning on this child.  Most of the mistakes are made with that one.  The baby of the family gets all the perks.  By the time baby comes along the newness of parenthood has worn off, and pretty much baby gets whatever he or she wants.  The middle child though, from what I hear, has a completely unique perspective on life.  It’s called “Middle Child Syndrome.  The oldest and youngest children tend to be more outgoing or extroverted, while the middle child is more shy and introverted – even a bit of a loner. Somehow in the rush and bustle to get oldest child to all of their activities and catering to the baby, the middle child just gets a little lost in the shuffle.  So day, to all middle children, go out and enjoy the limelight today.  Just know you are a wonderful person, talented and very special.

Vinyl Record Day – Well, it isn’t surprising that this day was set in motion by the Vinyl Record Day Company – which is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to recognizing and preserving vinyl music, its culture, art and sound.  You can dust off some old vinyl records to celebrate today, and give them a spin on your old turntable – that would be a great way to celebrate!  What may surprise you though – because I know it actually surprised me – is that many modern artists are producing music in vinyl format to provide a richer, more immersive experience. I didn’t understand this, so I asked my husband, who hears things I don’t hear in music (I think it’s a guy thing – I hear music, the hiss or scratches or whether or not the bass is just right – these things escape me.  Guys just hear it if it’s off though, don’t they?), and he explained it to me this way.  CDs and other digital formats may be technically perfect and free of imperfections, vinyl gives a warmth and a bigger feeling to the music.  He compared it to hearing a piano concert in person – the warmth and depth of the music surrounds you, and you feel it inside and out.  On a CD though, you just hear the music and it doesn’t get inside the way it does live.  And apparently vinyl has a similar feeling.   Interesting!
World Elephant Day – I’m sure we’ve all enjoyed watching the elephants at the zoo – though I do find myself feeling sorry for them – all cooped up.  The only consolation in my mind is that most of them have been born in captivity and probably wouldn’t do so well in the wild.  When I saw what this celebration was I had to look up some more details besides the simple truth that these are amazing animals, and the babies are precious.  And here is what I found out!  It’s fascinating.   The birth of an elephant is a spectacular event.  Grandmothers, aunts, sisters and cousins crowd around the new arrival and it’s dazed and tired mama, and they trumpet and stamp their feet and wave their trucks to welcome the floppy baby who has joined their family. (sounds like a lot of human families I know!)  After nearly two years in the womb (poor mama!) and a few minutes to stretch its legs, the calf can begin to stumble around.  It’s trunk though, an amazing part of the elephant, has up to 150,000 muscles with the dexterity to pick up a pin, and the strength to uproot a tree.  This incredible appendage will be quite a mystery to the little guy at first.  Over time, and with patience and a lot of guidance, it will find the potential its trunk has.  With this amazing trunk he can breathe, smell, drink, caress, thwack, probe, lift, haul, wrap, spray, nudge, collect, bathe, toot, wave and use it for tasks that we would need eyes, nose, hands and strong machines to accomplish.    Elephants look pretty amazing, but it is their intelligence and gentle empathy that has fascinated people for centuries.  They celebrate birth – like I described in the beginning, and they mourn their dead.  According to what I’ve been reading they are the only other creatures that do that.  They have been known to bury dead rhinos, lions and humans.  Maybe if they’d been uglier, more boring, or a less gracious creature, people may have left them alone to live out their lives in peace and with freedom.  However because they are so intriguing, they have become the victims of the fascination of humans which is embodied in the desire for ivory objects.  The sad reality is, that because of this quest for ivory, the outlook for elephants is pretty grim.  An average of around four are being poached for their ivory every our.  A century ago there were around four million elephants.  Today the estimate is that their population is about 500,000 and that number is dropping fast.  It will be a much lonelier world when this happens.  Ian Minchler puts this into a rather harrowing perspective – which I will quote –
 “Central and East Africa are in the midst of a poaching onslaught against their elephants – population counts and poaching records by both government and NGO agencies confirm this. Driven by organized crime syndicates in search of ivory, we also know that that the vast majority of this bounty ends up in the Far East. Amongst other factors, these illegal activities are facilitated by weak governance and corruption in the affected countries. The big question however is how long before the poaching gangs turn their guns and machetes on the elephant herds of southern Africa? The region carries over 50% of the continents elephants, and to date these have not been impacted by the poaching. But given what has happened to rhino and the nature of organized crime, this scenario could very well change sooner rather than later.  And for many, this crisis is not only about the death tally – it also embraces the folly of allowing a trade in ivory. Despite what we have learnt from previous one-off sales through CITES, the pro-trade lobby remains strong, a factor that may very well be fueling the poaching.” 
In an attempt to raise awareness of the elephants’ plight, August 12 has been declared World Elephant Day and people in many countries will be taking whatever action they can in defense of this great fellow creature.  I know that some local zoos have links on their websites where can donate to the cause of saving an endangered species.  Please consider finding one and helping in some way today. 


This Day In History
1898 – US annexes Hawaii.
Food Celebration of the Day
Family Meals Month – When I was growing up we didn’t really eat at the table.  Dad worked at night, and Mom was so tired from the home daycare she had, that we usually ate at the coffee table in the living room while we watched TV.  Sadly, I ended up usually doing this with my kids too.  Towards their Jr. High and High School years I was commuting 5 hours round trip a day and I was lucky not to fall asleep in my dinner plate, much less be home in time to sit around the table.  We did for holidays, and those times were always special.  When we went to Grandma’s we would have breakfast around the table.  If you have young children, or even older ones, please consider the time you are losing with them by letting them scatter to the four winds to eat dinner.  If I had it to do over again I would make sure that at least on weekends when I wasn’t working, that we would have our family time around the table, slow life down and gather to talk and share.  Maybe for the rest of this month we could all try to take some time and cues from classic Sunday suppers, whip up something comforting and fuss-free and sit down around the table together.  Making memories with the kids is always worth the extra time and trouble. 

Thank you for sharing this day with me, and celebrating the joys of the little things in a world gone crazy and out of control.  God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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