Monday, November 14, 2011

Tara and Bella

I saw this story about an elephant and a dog becoming friends at a nature preserve near Nashville, Tennessee on TV Sunday, and it haunted me to the point I had to revisit their relationship via You-Tube.  And by "haunted," I mean bursting into tears every couple of hours after seeing it.  The dog was a stray who wandered onto the preserve grounds, where elephants from all over the world are given sanctuary.   Tara is the elephant's name.  Bella was the dog's.  The images illustrating the story were like Utopian picture postcards -- Bella following Tara around, Tara petting Bella with her trunk.  Bella was killed (possibly by coyotes, although no one is sure) in the middle of the night.  But it turns out Tara carried Bella's dead body to the main office on the grounds, as if to somehow rescue her from death.  Now Tara is in mourning, and all the other elephants on the compound are trying to soothe her by giving her portions of their food.  Kindness is devastating.  It is wordless and conjured through very simple actions that have no other way to enter the world.  What happened between Tara and Bella is not human or animal.  At the risk of sounding completely flaky, it's spiritual.  A connection that can't be explained or replicated, just recognized.