Running With The Elephants
Last Thursday, Andre and I went on safari. In Rhode Island. On foot.
The mission? To capture the elusive Ringling Brothers elephants on film, in a more natural setting. You know, lumbering down the asphalt streets of Providence, instead of doing degrading tricks in three rings.
Anybody can do that.
One thing straight. Neither of us dig the circus.
Our last visit to greatest show on earth, nearly twenty years ago, left us traumatized and feeling sort of icky from getting our entertainment from animals, who clearly should just be roaming free, on an African plain.
So, we decided to free some.
Okay, not really. But it was almost Andre's birthday. And he LOVES elephants (no judgements), so we opted to just overlook where they were walking to, and what they were going to be doing once they got there. Instead, we chose to revel with them on a fresh air romp through the capital city.
That's how we ended up by the tracks, on industrial Harris Avenue, with a bunch of parents and stroller-bound toddlers, waiting for the pachyderms to deboard their train. I hadn't given much thought to the game plan beyond taking a couple of shots (that's photographic, not rifle), in the railyard, then heading home, out of the drizzle.
You wouldn't know this unless you were actually passed, at close range, by a herd of elephants, but apparently their flapping ears have a bit of a Pied Piper effect. There's really no other way to explain how two otherwise rational people, decided it was a good idea to march alongside the ten-foot tall creatures, linked trunks to tails--for over a mile.
The whole scene was just so mesmerizingly bizarre, clearly we didn't have a choice.
We escorted the elephants, along with their contingent of handlers, Providence police on motorcycles, some other random natives smartly wearing work-out clothing, and riders on horseback, from Harris to Kinsley Avenue, then onto Dean Street, where vehicular traffic was allowed to proceed in the opposite direction.
And, then, in an only in Rhode Island moment, Andre's sister drove by, shouting greetings from her Maxima.
The elephants rounded the corner to West Exchange Street, then strolled down the hill to their final destination of the big top inside the Dunkin' Donuts Center, where the whole adventure ended as quickly as it started.
And our proof that it actually really happened? A whole lot of pictures of elephant tail.
Photo by moi. Andre in foreground. RI State Capitol in background. Elephants in between.