the stewardship of our kindness


Time spent with Asian elephants has taught me about the power of kindness. Many days with this elephant named Tingsay gave me the opportunity to get to know her and she me.  We spent a lot of time together in the villages and jungles to the north of Chiang Mai.  She would come find me in the morning and she began to learn within just a few days which fruit trees were my favorite.  She would detour to get me to a Burmese Grape tree long before I even spotted it.


After one long day of riding with friends in the mountains, we took our elephants for a bath in the river.  It was a hot day and I was tired from a very long and rough ride.  Her usual bent back leg was not enough for me to climb up onto her for the ride home.  I fell off.  She then bent her right front leg in the hopes I could climb her leg but I failed in that too.  When she realized I was having trouble she placed her trunk between my legs and lifted me (well, sort of tossed me) up onto her forehead so that I landed with a thud on my stomach. It got me up there (she preferred me riding on her head rather than her neck) and off we went into the jungle.


She was kind to me in ways that Kai is kind to me. The natural order seems to have a sort of kindness built in to its fabric.  The animal kingdom only seems to be violent when it is hungry or scared.  I find that to be the case with humans as well.  I aspire to be as kind as Tingsay and Kai.


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