Inspiration Point: An Elephant Tale (+ear)
I had never given much thought to elephants before I lived in Kenya. Sure I had seen them at the zoo, on TV and read about them in books: Babar, Richard Scarry. So when I went on my first safari in Kenya and I was told at Amboseli there are a lot of elephant, I sort of shrugged my shoulder. “So what,” I thought to myself, I want to see lions, cheetahs, leopards, not elephants?!
Now when I lived inn Kenya I feel in love, often.
The coast, the fabric, the colors, brown ugali, and chipati.
The beautiful way people spoke – the lyrically Kenyan accent is one of my favorites in the world. The way my professors would say “Are we together?” Meaning do you understand what I am saying to you.
And to my surprise I also fell in love with elephants. Not one in particular, all of them!
I was not prepared for how beautiful they really are – seeing their elephant-ness, their elephantity (their own true humanity, for lack of a better word.) I could just watch them for hours and hours, and I guess I did. The families together, the amazingly cute baby elephants and the fierce and loving mothers, it was a lesson in life and of being. Truly.
And I was never afraid of them, though I was sure to keep a distance and not cross the line. In fact, the only time I was a little afraid of an elephant was after the fact.
During the night in camp we heard a lot of movement outside the tent. No biggie this is after all not Nairobi we are in a park. But in the morning we noticed foot prints. Not hyenas or gazelle, but elephant tracks, right through our camp. Wow. Part of me wishes I could have seen them, the other part of me was glad I kept my butt in the tent.
So in honor of the elegant elephant I made this top. (The pants I made too, they are made from vintage Kitenge fabric.)
The lines of the double collar hearkens back to the line of the African elephant ear.
It is like an elegant shawl that flows as the walk.
Besides their eyes, it was the element of their bodies I most watched, maybe because of it seemed to me to be a sort of garment in the way it moved around and with their form.
This is a picture from the elephant orphanage in Nairobi. Sadly poaching still occurs though Kenya seems to be vigilant about such things especially when it comes to ivory, whose sale is banned. This orphanage cares for elephants who are left unable to care for themselves. For more information: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/
All photos Tereneh Mosley, Idia’Dega