Reasons for being

August 12, 2009

I closed the door of the car behind me, looking around at the familiar landscape I had come to know so well. Through the gate I was greeted by some familiar faces, but it wasn’t till Annie spotted me and nearly knocked me to the floor with a hug, that I knew I had made the right decision in coming back the the wildlife rescue centre instead of traveling. Everyone seemed very excited too; There was news. “We’ve got a surprise for you!” Annie exclaimed. It turned out that Pailin had moved to a new enclosure. It was well know how unhappy both Pailin and I were about where I left her when I departed. Sharing the enclosure with the other three girls, but the barren empty side. Now she had been moved to the new enclosure, the one that was nearly finished. I did not care about getting my luggage to my room or getting some of the lunch leftovers set aside. I just wanted to see her.

I passed the other girls, quickly stopping to say Hello, waved at the babies and met some new volunteers along the way. But then I was walking up the hill to the field that would soon house all the elephants. At the end of the field i could see her standing under the shading. As I came closer, she started walking towards me. When we were close enough, her trunk reached out, indicating “food please”. We were together again.

Later that day I went back to see her after catching up with some friends and reading a cocktail book with the little kid whos mum works in the kitchen. It was bathing time for the elephants, but it seemed nobody longer swimmed with Pailin. Eck, the mahout was there and asked me if I wanted to go into the water. I looked down on my new clothes, bought two days earlier in Chiang Mai, including a white printed t-shirt. “Of course!” i said and took of my shoes. The bottom of the water was squishy and muddy, so I swam despite it not being too deep. There was no brush, so I just cleaned her a bit with my hands, getting the dirt off her face, while she splashed a little with her trunk. My t-shirt may have never been white again, but it was the highlight of three months Asia.

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It’s strange how one thing can make everything else ok. All the bad things that had happened in my life, all the awful people, the issues and insecurities. It all faded away, because it no longer mattered. It all had to happen for me to be in that place at that time., standing in front of Pailin. Life never made so much sense, my being never had so much purpose. Pailin taught me that everything, truly, happens for a reason.

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